Protecting and preserving existing trees is a big challenge during a construction project. It might seem easier, and even more affordable, to clear the site of all trees and plant new ones after construction is finished, but mature trees provide considerable real estate and environmental value. Therefore, it is wise for a contractor or property owner to choose a certified arborist who can determine a site-specific strategy before construction begins to protect your trees from potential damage.
Not all trees can be saved. A certified arborist can identify which trees can be saved based on species, size, condition and location. Newly-planted or younger trees are typically more resilient in construction zones. While mature trees may look indestructible, they are more sensitive to change and construction damage. Reducing plant stress will lessen the chances of decline. Provisions should be made to ensure the tree trunk, limbs and root system are not damaged.
Tree roots are easily overlooked because they’re out of sight. Damage to the root system – whether by soil compaction caused by heavy machinery, smothered roots caused by excessive soil or grade changes – can adversely affect tree root health, leading to tree death. It is crucial to protect the root zone. One way to do this is to place protective fencing around the root zone of the tree.
Post-construction care is just as important as pre-construction care. Negative effects may not be seen for several years. Monitor the post-construction site to evaluate the health of the trees.
Oftentimes, tree professionals are called too late. The damage has been done and they’re asked to work a miracle. Prevention is always better than a cure… and less costly. The tree professionals at Ostvig Tree Care work with you at the outset. We have ISA Certified Arborists on staff who are qualified to give you pre- and post-construction protection advice.