How Does Construction Around Trees Affect Tree Health?

Date September 13, 2022

Author TreeNewal Staff

North Texas development is growing at an ever-increasing rate, with the estimated population reaching 8 million, according to the North Central Texas Council of Governments. While economic stimulation has benefits, the uptick in construction around trees poses a significant threat to tree health. In this blog post, we will discuss the various ways construction can harm your trees. We’ll also provide some tips for protection and tree sustainability. Keep your trees safe by following these simple tree care tips!
Since roughly 90% of tree roots are in’ the top two feet of the soil, even the most severe construction damage can go unnoticed. If you’re planning to do construction around trees, contact a Certified Arborist at (817) 592-6846 for a preservation plan.

Construction Effect on Trees

Soil Compaction

Soil compaction is the most common cause of damage to trees on construction sites, as it compromises the growing environment. Trees need loose soil that contains enough pore space to facilitate the movement of water and nutrients, especially oxygen. Soil compaction occurs easily in areas exposed to heavy machinery or high foot traffic. It reduces the amount of pore space in the soil, inhibiting the movement of water and oxygen, and causes the tree to die slowly from suffocation or drowning.

Soil Excavation

Excavating soil when constructing buildings, patios, garages, driveways, and roads damages surrounding trees. Removing soil can disturb, injure, or sever tree roots. Adding new soil changes its grade and composition, reducing the movement of oxygen to tree roots, leading to significant damage and even tree death.

Mechanical Damage

Heavy machinery and construction equipment can damage tree roots, trunks, and branches, stripping off the bark and damaging vascular tissue. This decreases the movement of nutrients and water in the tree. Open wounds from these injuries weaken the tree and act as entryways to various tree pests and fungal diseases.

Improper Disposal of Materials

For North Texas development sites, improper construction waste disposal can be detrimental to tree health. Chemicals and debris can seep into the soil, causing changes to its composition and killing roots.

Tree Care Tips for Preservation

Plan With an ISA Certified Arborist

Before a construction project, contact a Certified Arborist to help develop a tree sustainability plan. They can help you identify critical root zones and make recommendations to minimize damage. Tree care experts can also apply plant growth regulators to slow canopy growth and encourage root development, helping stressed trees recover from stress and construction damage.

Boost Tree Health Before Construction Begins

Healthy trees have a better chance of surviving construction damage than weak trees. Provide your trees with the best possible care through regular and proper watering, mulching, and fertilization.

Add a Layer of Mulch or Wood Chips Around the Tree Base

Layering wood chips or mulch at a depth of at least six inches helps prevent soil compaction and protects the roots from incurring heavy damage.

Construct a Protective Barrier

Building a sturdy fence around the tree, at least to the outer drip line of the canopy, will protect the critical root zone and prevent construction activities from impacting the area around the tree. Allowing zero construction activity or supply storage around the outer dripline of your tree is the best way to prevent it from harm.

Keep an Eye Out for Tree Health

During construction, stay vigilant and inspect your trees for signs of stress. Check if your barriers are still in good shape, and be sure to water your trees to reduce drought stress. Ongoing observation will enable you to quickly identify any damage as it occurs so that you can address it with the contractor for agreement violations.

Sustainable Tree Care Services

TreeNewal is a sustainable tree care company that works to preserve and promote overall tree health in North Texas. Our team of ISA Certified Arborists and Dallas tree care specialists can help you develop a protection plan and offer assistance with tree care services before and after the construction project. If your tree has suffered construction damage, we offer tree insect and disease management, soil conditioning, air spade and aeration, and more. For the best tree services near Dallas, contact our tree care specialists today at (817) 592-6846.


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