Protecting Trees from Construction Damage


When modifying the environment to meet our needs, nature’s well-being is often a second concern. Somehow, whenever we have a problem with natural obstacles, we dig them out, hack them down, and remove them, not thinking about the environmental impact. On the other hand, we like to think we are concerned about the planet’s ecosystems.

Well, we should be worrying about the ecosystems in our backyard first. This is especially true when it comes to construction work. Among the many other things to be taken into account, like minimizing the noise impact and dust and debris removal, one of primary concerns should be related to trees at and around the building site.


Preparation of the Site

You should get all the estimates on the eventual risks to the neighboring trees before the workers and the machines take over the site. Larger trees have thicker roots that are widespread around them, so that needs to be considered when digging ditches for plumbing, electricity or telephone. Make sure that the ditch runs no closer than 6 feet to the nearest tree.


Protection or Removal

The trees on a building site should also be protected by physical barricades. The size of the barricade should be proportional to the size and position of the tree. Arborists should give an opinion about the future relation between the tree and the construction. A small tree that doesn’t seem like a problem now will grow over the years, with its roots presenting a threat to the structure foundation and pipelines. In the case of a small tree, the best option is removal to a new location.


tree in construction zone


Indirect Damage – Big Risk

Despite looking stately and powerful, tree trunks can be easily damaged by the construction machines. One of the most common way is stripping a part of the bark or plowing the part of the root. That aside, lower branches are also susceptible to breaking. Some indirect activities like digging ditches too close or leveling the ground are also hazardous.

Apart from leveling the smaller trees for good, leaving a big tree standing there with a damaged root is especially dangerous.


Importance of Roots

Apart from making a support for the enormous tree mass to stand upright, roots have the role of sucking up the essential nutrients from the soil. A tree with damaged root is deprived of the nutrients and has great potential of falling down in near future, killing someone or damaging the property, perhaps the very construction that caused the damage in the first place, we learned from the people who run Sydney-based company Priority Trees.


Lawsuits for the Irresponsible

If the tree gets damaged in the building process, despite of all the precautions, experts from a tree pruning company should estimate the damage. Those trees that lean to falling down need to be removed, which is followed by charges against the irresponsible contractor.

We should adopting the reality that every tree is a valuable resource and a living being in the first place. Learning how to cohabit with trees around us, is the only way we can protect the clean air and rich soil for the future generations. No matter how complex the situation might be, there is always a way to protect the tree and to build with style and elegance.

This is a guest post contributed by Lillian Connors. Lillian has been deeply into green practices for years, cherishing the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit and what we eat, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. She is currently in charge of the sustainability segment at SmoothDecorator, and you can check her out on Google+TwitterLinkedInand Facebook.

Greener Ideal strives to help you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips, healthy recipes and commentary on the latest environment news. The views expressed by guest authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.