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Avoiding Tree Damage During Construction

Many building sites involve placing buildings near existing trees. New homes in particular usually have several trees in close proximity. Construction sites can cause a lot of mess and damage to surrounding trees. Proper planning needs to take place to keep them safe. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of protecting your trees during construction.



How Trees get Damaged During Construction

Construction equipment is designed to demolish old structures and break up the ground. However, in the process, they can also harm trees by breaking off branches, ripping the bark or gashing the trunk. If too much damage is done, the tree will not be able to survive. As the workers dig deep into the ground, they may be cutting into the root systems of many trees. A tree’s root system can reach up to three times the height of the tree. So, workers need to cut as far away from trees as possible, allowing the root system to remain untouched. 

The soil can also be damaged due to construction. Trees need up to 50 percent pore space to allow the soil to absorb air and water. When the soil is too compacted, it diminishes the ability of trees to grow. In the same way, too much soil being dumped on the trees can cause stunted growth. These points should be kept in mind when digging up and dumping soil. Also, when trees are not able to grow in clusters, they are more likely to suffer damage. When able to grow tall, they provide shelter for the other surrounding trees.




Deciding Which Trees Should be Removed

In some situations, before the construction begins, you may have to decide which of the existing trees can be removed. Sometimes, it is not possible to save all of the trees on a construction site. Consider that some of the trees can be moved to other locations. You need to determine the space needed to build so any necessary tree removal can be done safely. Have an arborist help you decide the best locations to place the trees you keep. Remember that the placement of a driveway can also affect the health of your trees.



Ways to Prevent Damage

Before beginning construction, protect your trees. Set up sturdy fencing around the trees, taking care that workers keep equipment and debris far away from them. Keep them marked clearly so construction workers can see them and stay away from them. Make sure that no digging will take place in those areas as well. Limit the number of people who are allowed on the property, and make sure the workers have a designated pathway on which to drive their vehicles. Tire tracks can cause a lot of damage to the ground. Have specific areas designated for equipment, materials and dirt to keep them away from the protected trees. Keep an open line of communication with construction workers about which trees will remain on-site and how they must be protected. If damage is done to any trees, consider imposing fines or penalties.



After Construction is Over

After the building is constructed, your trees will need time to acclimate to the changes made to their environment. Trees that experience stress may suffer from diseases or infestations. You will need to continually perform maintenance on your trees to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, even when precautions are made to protect your trees, damage can still be done. So, routine maintenance is necessary.



Why Trees Should be Protected

You may enjoy the beauty of trees as they bloom in the spring and display their brilliant foliage in the fall before shedding all their leaves. You may know that trees provide many benefits to humans as they help maintain good air quality. Trees also offer shade, improve water and soil quality and remove pollution from the air. They provide a beautiful landscape and add value to a property. In fact, property that includes many trees is sold at a higher price than a property without trees. Preserving trees is not only important to those who care about the environment, but also for homeowners who hope to enjoy trees as they mature.


Protecting trees during construction is possible with proper planning and communication. Keep your trees well maintained throughout the process as well as afterward to ensure a beautifully landscaped yard.

For more information about how to protect the trees on your property during construction or any other time, please contact us today.

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