Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Landscape - Construction Effects on Trees

Damage during construction or other landscape activities is one of the major ways that we lose trees. The following is an article on the subject.

Trees, like people, are easily disturbed by changes in their surroundings. It may be several years, however, before obvious symptoms appear. Construction of buildings and roads is a major cause of tree injury and loss.

● Although trunk injury can kill trees, it is root injury during construction that is most likely to kill trees.
● Prevent damage to trees near construction sites by fencing or otherwise protecting them from earthmoving equipment.
● Avoid the placement of excessive soil fills or impervious materials within the drip line (the entire area under the branches) of a tree. It is even better to protect an area several feet wider than the drip line. Since fill materials can cut off oxygen to plant roots, the extent of damage to roots is directly related to depth of material applied and the length of time it is allowed to remain.
● Alternatively, lowering the grade during construction or removing soil can also destroy plant roots.
● Carefully design and construct trenching for cable and water lines to avoid or minimize root damage.

Reprinted from "Common Injuries to Trees in the Urban Landscape" by Ann B. Gould, Ph.D., Specialist in Plant Pathology and Mark C. Vodak, Ph.D., Specialist in Forestry in the September 21, 2006 edition of the Plant and Pest Advisory, Landscape, Nursery, and Turf Edition, from Rutgers University.

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