How to Protect Trees Existing on a Construction Project

Trees play a crucial role in our environment, providing us with clean air, shade, and a habitat for wildlife. They also add beauty and value to any construction project. However, construction work can often cause damage to Protect trees existing on a project site, both above and below ground.

In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of protecting existing trees during construction and provide a comprehensive guide on how to do so.

1. Take Inventory of All Existing Trees on the Project Site

The first step in protecting existing trees on a construction site is to conduct a thorough inventory of all trees present. This process involves identifying the location, species, size, and health of each tree. A qualified arborist or landscape architect can assist in this process by performing a tree assessment, which will help to determine which trees are most valuable and worth preserving.

2. Identify Which Trees You Have to Protect

Once you have a complete inventory of the trees on your project site, the next step is identifying which trees need protection. This will likely include trees that are healthy and structurally sound, as well as those that provide significant environmental or aesthetic benefits. You should also consider local tree preservation ordinances or regulations that may dictate which trees must be protected.

3. Design Your Project While Prioritizing Tree Conservation

Incorporate tree conservation into the design of your project from the beginning. This may involve altering the layout or footprint of your construction project to avoid damaging critical root zones or tree canopies.

Consider integrating existing trees into your landscape design, such as building around them or incorporating them into outdoor spaces like patios or courtyards.

4. Be Careful about Possible Underground Damage to a Tree

A significant portion of a tree’s root system is located within the top three feet of soil, making it particularly vulnerable to damage during construction. Excavation, trenching, and soil compaction can all cause irreversible harm to a tree’s roots, leading to its decline or death.

To minimize underground damage, establish tree protection zones around each tree you wish to preserve. These zones should extend at least as far as the tree’s drip line (the outer edge of its canopy) and be marked with temporary fencing or barriers to prevent construction traffic and equipment from entering.

5. Protect Trees from Soil Chemical Changes

Construction activities can also lead to changes in soil chemistry, negatively impacting trees. For example, the addition of filled soil or the runoff of construction materials like concrete can cause a change in soil pH levels, making it difficult for trees to absorb essential nutrients.

To prevent this, ensure that any fill soil used on the site is compatible with the existing soil and that construction materials are properly stored and contained to prevent spills or runoff.

6. Implement Tree Maintenance During and After Construction

Regularly monitor and maintain the health of the trees you are protecting during the construction process. This may involve watering, fertilizing, pruning, or providing other necessary care. After construction is complete, continue to monitor the health of the trees and address any issues that may arise. It may take several years for a tree to recover from construction-related stress fully.

Final Thoughts

Protecting existing trees during a construction project is not only important for the environment but can also provide significant aesthetic and financial benefits to the project itself. By taking the time to inventory, identify, and protect valuable trees on your project site, you can help to ensure their long-term health and survival.

Engaging a qualified arborist or landscape architect to assist in this process can provide valuable expertise and guidance, helping to make your construction project a success for both you and the trees that share the space.

For tree services in Birmingham, AL, don’t hesitate to call us at Eastern Tree & Construction. We offer tree removal, trimming, maintenance, emergency services, and more. Contact us today for more information.

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