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  • Writer's pictureRussell Fey

Protecting Your Trees During Construction

House Framing

While construction may be a necessary part of home maintenance, it can do some damage to your surrounding landscape. Trees and shrubbery can be damaged when their branches and roots are severed by construction equipment. Compressed or eroded soil can also damage tree health and tree growth; learning the potential dangers of pending construction and how to avoid them can save your healthy, beautiful landscape and add value to your home and property.

If you have a construction project on the horizon, take these steps to protect your landscape and trees. These steps could save you both time and money in the long run:

  1. Assess tree health. Employing the services of a professional arborist to assess the health of your trees is a first step in planning for construction. Aged, diseased, or dying trees may not be worth saving, as it will be more costly to remove them when your project is done. Often, you can take this step to cull your yard and plan for new planting and growth when your work is done.

  2. Place barriers around root zones. For those trees that are worth saving, it will be necessary to erect barriers around the perimeter of a tree's root system to let construction workers know where to avoid digging. Consider using tent stakes or other posts that will be easily driven into the soil as you prepare to roll out a barrier for all to see.

  3. Place wood chips at the base and extend outward to protect the root system. This will be an added element of protection against soil erosion and compaction, helping to safeguard the health of your tree roots. Wood chips filter water and retain moisture within the soil, preventing issues that would cause roots to be exposed.

  4. Wrap netting around root zone stakes. Purchasing brightly colored netting to wrap around perimeter stakes will give everyone on your property a clear sign that your trees are not to be disturbed. Your contractor may even offer this service for you, provided tree perimeters are clearly marked and ready to wrap prior to work.

  5. Minimize damage if digging trenches. As much as you try to protect a tree's root system, there are times when it is not possible to install underground wiring or piping without disturbing it. If you must install underground hardware, do what you can to ensure that the majority of digging is done at least eight feet from the tree's base and that you disturb as few roots as possible.

Tree relocation

Keeping a tree during construction may mean relocation for some; with mature trees, this may be impossible due to the root system's size and the tree's height. In general, saplings and young trees can be relocated, but you'll want to procure the services of a trained arborist and landscape contractor to do so. If a tree is within ten feet of external construction, its location will have to be evaluated to determine if it should be placed somewhere else. Never attempt to remove or relocate a tree yourself without proper equipment and the advice of an arborist trained in all aspects of tree care.

Tree care during construction

Once trees are clearly marked for either removal, relocation, or preservation, your next job as a homeowner is to care for your trees while construction is underway. Minimizing foot and mechanical traffic, watching for signs of injury, and watering regularly are necessary parts of tree care during construction. Talk to your contractor if you notice excess activity near protected trees, and design a plan for minimizing damage to your trees on or near your property.

When in doubt, consult the experts

Sarasota Tree Service is a committed group of trained professionals who are passionate about tree care. From planting and landscape design to pest management, pruning, and removal, we will prioritize the health and safety of your trees no matter what projects you are undertaking. Contact us today to help us prepare for your next big project; visit for more information.

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