Protecting Your Trees From Construction Damage
Mature trees can be very valuable assets, and if you have an active construction site in proximity to trees that you would like to keep safe, there are many things to consider. Although it is possible to move some trees from their location so as to keep them safe, there are less expensive strategies that can be implemented to prevent any possible damage. Let’s discuss all of the options that may be available to protect trees that are adjacent to construction sites.
1. Constructing A Fence
One of the best ways to protect your tree, and also it’s critical root zone, is to put a fence up in between the tree and the construction site. You need to make this area off-limits to any type of vehicle, material that will be used for the construction project, and even prevent people from coming into the area. Putting up a fence is very easy to do, but repairing compacted and damaged soil is a process that is not only difficult to achieve, but may lead to permanent damage to the tree itself, specifically the roots. To get this done, you should contact a licensed professional arborist that can help you get this done. They should work in conjunction with the project architect, allowing you to have a tree preservation plan created prior to any of the construction work, so that the boundaries that you will set up must be taken seriously.
2. Creating A Tree Preservation Plan
This plan will be very helpful in preventing any damage to the tree, outlining exactly what the construction workers and project managers can and cannot do. It will clearly state that no site disturbing activities are permissible such as cutting, filling, parking, and also the prevention of trenches that are often dug on these jobsites. These can cut directly into the root system, permanently damaging the tree, something that will be avoided once the tree preservation plan is in place. There should also be signs on the fence which expressly state that the area is off-limits, helping to ensure the safety of the tree. This fence will help prevent three of the most dangerous activities that can compromise the health of the tree.
3. Most Significant Dangers To Trees During Construction
The first danger to avoid, and probably the most lethal to a tree, is trenching which will not only damage the roots, but also the limbs of the tree as the machinery gets into position to do this type of work. It can also cause damage to the bark, and the trunk of the tree, causing the tree to sustain damage that it cannot recover from. The second danger is soil compaction which can occur when heavy equipment goes over the roots, or if material for the project is placed on top of the soil. All it takes is less than 10 passes over soil with heavy equipment to change its porous consistency into something similar to concrete. This will prevent nutrients and water from getting into the roots, as well as potentially damage the roots altogether. Finally, soil clearing and grading damage can cause nutrients in the soil to be stripped away, leading to the ultimate demise of the tree itself.
Once you have talked with a local arborist who will work directly with the construction project manager, and a tree preservation plan has been set in place, the fence can be put up restricting access to that area, preventing any damage to the tree at all from the construction project. It may take a few weeks to get everything approved, which is why this type of work needs to be done long before the construction project occurs. This will ensure the safety of any trees that are in close proximity to the job site, a simple way to preserve the life of trees near construction zones.