Limiting Damage to Existing Trees during Home or Pool Construction

constructionYou’ve decided to do some construction to your home or pool. You want to ensure that your trees remain safe during this time. In this article, we’ll go over some ways construction can harm your trees and how you can help to prevent that.

How can construction harm my trees?

  1. Construction equipment can injure the above-ground portion of a tree by breaking branches, tearing the bark or wounding the trunk. These types of injuries are permanent and if they are extensive, they can be fatal to the tree.
  2. The digging and trenching associated with construction can often be damaging to roots. The root system of a tree can extend horizontally 1 to 3 times greater than the height of the tree itself. It’s important that the construction crew cut as far away as possible to prevent damage that can compromise the tree’s health and stability.
  3. Heavy construction equipment can cause soil compaction. This is a situation where nutrients can’t get to the tree. It also inhibits root growth, limits water infiltration and decreases the oxygen roots need for survival.
  4. If soil is added during construction this can smother the roots of a tree.

What can I do to protect my trees before and during the construction process?

You can save a lot of time and money if you develop a landscape protection plan before you begin construction. Inventory the trees that are on your site. Record the location, size and health of each tree. Austin Tree Service can help you do this if you so desire. Trees with issues should be marked for removal before construction. Our certified arborist can help you determine if any of your trees need to be removed before you undertake the construction process.

You can protect the trees that you want to save by going over the map with your builder. You should make sure you show the locations of trees to be protected and how they can build around them. Place markers on trees that you want to keep safe during the construction so the crew will know they’re ‘OFF LIMITS’. Provide the trees with as much space as possible so you can protect their root systems.

You should also make sure that your trees are as healthy as possible before construction. Water and fertilize them as necessary. You can also apply a layer of wood chips over areas that will be used for traffic during construction to protect the soil from becoming compacted. Compacted soil keeps nutrients, water and sunlight from getting to the trees’ root systems.

How do I help trees after the construction process is complete?

We suggest you call Austin Tree Service to take a look at your trees and assess the damage, if any. We will provide you with a plan of action to take on any trees that need to be removed or pruned. We are always ready and willing to help. Call us today at 512-341-8888 for more information.