Monday, July 6, 2015

Avoiding tree damage during construction

It’s important to remember to protect your trees before starting any summer construction or renovation projects. A healthy tree increases in value with age, so preserving your investment makes sense. Jill-Anne Spence, Urban Forestry Lead, recently chatted with Global TV to share some tips.

Protect your trees with a fence or barrier.
Some of the most common ways trees are damaged during construction are:

  • Harming roots while digging, grading or trenching. 
  • Injury to the tree with equipment.
  • Packing down the soil which inhibits growth and root survival.
  • Adding more soil which smothers the roots.

If you are planning a construction project:

  1. Ask for advice: Contact a certified International Society of Arboriculture arborist or a company that employs them to help you protect your trees during construction. 
  2. Plan ahead: Work with the contractor early to have the smallest impact on your trees. There are many options from changing location to changing the method of construction to help your trees stay damage-free. 
  3. Protect with barriers: A sturdy fence should be set up around trees about 0.3 m (1') from the trunk for each 2.5 cm (1") of trunk diameter. Leave the fence up until construction is complete. 
  4. Limit access: Limit access of vehicles and machinery. Instruct contractors and builders where they're allowed to drive and park. 
  5. Stay vigilant: Often it is in the final stages of construction where damage to the tree's root system occurs. During the installation of irrigation systems, grading or planting bed cultivation, ensure the original plan is followed and the barrier remains in place.
"Often it is in the final stages of construction where damage to the tree occurs." Tweet this

After construction, good tree maintenance will help your trees recover from any injury or changes. More information at

Submitted by Althea Livingston, Parks

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