It is possible to preserve trees on building sites if the right measures are taken. The most important step is to hire a professional arborist during the planning stage. An arborist can help you decide which trees can be saved, and can work with the builder to protect the trees throughout each construction phase.
|The roots of a tree will extend far from the trunk and will be found mostly in the upper 6 to 10 inches of soil.|
|Less damage is done to tree roots if utilities are tunneled under a tree rather than across the roots.|
Sometimes small changes in the placement or design of your house can make a great difference in whether a critical tree will survive. An alternative plan may be more friendly to the root system. For example, bridging over the roots may substitute for a conventional walkway. Or, instead of trenching beside a tree for utility installation, tunneling under the root system is much less damaging.
Instruct the construction personnel to keep the fenced area clear of
building materials, waste, and excess soil. No digging, trenching or other
soil disturbance should be allowed in the fenced area.
|Protective fences should be erected as far out from the trunks as possible in order to protect the root systems.|
Specify storage areas for equipment, soil and construction materials. Limit areas for burning (if permitted), cement wash-out pits and construction work zones. These areas should be away from protected trees.
Fines and penalties for violations should be built into the specifications. Not too surprisingly, sub-contractors are much more likely to adhere to the tree preservation clauses if their profit is at stake. The severity of the fines should be proportional to the potential damage to the trees, and should increase for multiple infractions.
Visit the site at least once a day if possible. Your vigilance will pay off as workers learn to take your wishes seriously. Take photos at every stage of construction. If any infraction of the specifications does occur, it will be important to prove liability.
Despite the best intentions and most stringent tree preservation measures, your trees may still be injured from the construction process. There are remedial treatments that your arborist can suggest to help reduce stress and improve the growing conditions around your trees. In addition, the International Society of Arboriculture offers a companion to this brochure titled, „Treatment of Trees Damaged by Construction.š
Developed by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), a non-profit organization supporting tree care research around the world and dedicated to the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees. For further information, contact: ISA, P.O. Box 3129, Champaign, IL 61826-3129, USA.
© 1998 International Society
UPDATED FEBRUARY 2000