About Tree Preservation
are many reasons we decide to preserve trees.
They add grace and beauty
landscapes, provide shade and protection for our
homes, and increase our
Changing the environment around trees can
cause a great deal of
harm and stress.
In wooded areas, trees live in harmony,
protecting and supporting
each other, when the
woods become a yard the trees have to adapt to their current
goals of tree preservation are to lessen the
impact of construction
and to decrease expensive
The tree preservation process begins
construction, so involve an arborist in the
planning process team.
is an explanation of the
steps involved in the Tree Preservation process.
The first step in tree preservation is to
understand how trees grow and function. There
are two problems we watch for: mechanical injury
and root damage.
Mechanical damage, physical injuries/wounds to the trunks
and/or limbs is common during construction.
When wounded, trees are structurally unable
to heal as humans and animals do.
As trees can not replace damaged tissue,
they must wall off the area to limit the amount of
decay and disease using a process called
Compartmentalization of Decay in Trees (CODIT).
Trees are capable of compartmentalizing
small wounds quickly, but the larger wounds
require great amounts of energy.
A trunk wound removing as little as 30% of
the bark may in fact be fatal.
Trees are weakened due to the amount of
energy required to try to compartmentalize the
also provide an entrance for decay and disease to
enter the tree.
Decay also weakens trees, which may cause them to be unable to support their own weight,
putting people and property at risk. Protecting
trunks and limbs from damage is
Protect those Roots!
to the root system causes even more significant
provide anchorage, storage, and conduction and
absorption of water, oxygen, and nutrients for the
whole tree. Many
believe roots are as deep as the tree is
root system of most trees, however, is very
shallow, growing within
the top twelve to eighteen
inches and extending up to two to three times the
radius of the crown.
Due to the importance of roots, changes within the root zone can have
Processes common in construction, including
trenching, soil compaction, and grade changes
become major concerns.
Whether the roots are removed or smothered,
damage to the root system can lead to serious,
long-term problems, including trunk decay, tree decline, and death.
how trees function, the Vine & Branch staff
uses the following steps to provide the
information needed to properly care for the
trees. We first
identify the trees through a Tree
inventory, we scout the property, identifying
trees over a designated diameter. We
inventory the species,
diameter, and condition.
We typically tag the tree to designate it
being included on the inventory using either a
temporary plastic tag, or a permanent metal tag.
what do we do with this information?
inventories are designed to provide the client
with enough data to help them choose which trees
would be suitable for tree preservation.
When choosing the trees, we suggest looking at the
species has its own level of tolerance to
construction which must be considered. Trees with low tolerance located near
construction may need to be removed.
There are also a few species of trees,
including silver maple (Acer
and mulberry (Morus spp.), which are considered undesirable and may
also need to be removed.
to construction, lay out the plans and examine
where the trees are, relative to the construction.
Understand what construction processes are
site changes should be noted, from the location of
the structures to the access roads to the material
the inventory we rate the condition of the trees
on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 indicating excellent
and 5 indicating a dead/or risk tree.
When rating the condition, we look at the
crown structure, the trunk, and the root flare.
Trees with significant root, trunk, or
crown issues may need immediate care
or removal. We
also consider the approximate age of the tree.
The younger the tree, the more tolerant it
will be of construction. Old trees may need
further protection and care!
These three factors should be considered when
determining which trees to preserve. Focus
should be on specified
trees, which then have a greater chance at
As part of the inventory
will also note tree-specific characteristics that
we find important, including remarkable specimens
or notable weaknesses.
Additional information may be gathered,
including trunk diameter, height, drip line diameter, and current compaction levels.
data, site details and construction details are
used to develop the written Tree
Within a written preservation plan we
analyze the trees on the property using the
information from the inventory and investigate how
they are likely to respond to the construction.
We then make our recommendations for which
tree preservation measures to pay particular
attention to. In the plan we include written
Specifications. These are to be used as guidelines
throughout the construction process.
The specifications explain the tree
preservation requirements for the project,
including root zone restrictions, material
storage, pruning requirements, and much
Specifications also discuss details on how
to adjust many common construction processes to
best protect the trees, including trenching and
paving temporary roads and aftercare procedures.
& Branch recommends the Plan and
Specifications be reviewed and adjustments to
preservation and/or construction processes
discussed with the arborist prior to construction
for optimum tree preservation and survival. Vine
& Branch often suggests additional
procedures that should be completed prior to
Fencing and Signage: Once
trees are chosen, construction fencing is
installed to protect the critical root zone of the
chosen trees. Signage is placed on the fencing to
designate the "Tree Preservation Area".
are ideally fertilized one year prior to the beginning of
This is especially important for those
trees that are weak before construction begins.
All efforts to improve their health should
ensure everyone understands the tree preservation
procedures, the arboricultural consultant meets
with the owner, the builders and developers prior to
construction. This relieves many future problems and
Issues such as critical root zones,
material storage and access roads are discussed.
Root Pruning: To avoid ripping roots of
preserved trees to be preserved, areas where trenching will interfere
with tree roots, small trenches are dug to expose the
roots first. These roots are then pruned properly,
leaving a clean wound that has much better chance of
regrowing. Ideally instead of trenching a
directional boring procedure can take lines under
the roots and thereby not disturbing them.
Tree Pruning: All trees to be preserved
should be crown cleaned. This improves the health and
vigor of the trees by removing dead, diseased, broken,
and poorly attached branches.
Once Construction Begins,
Following Precautions are
Site Inspections: The arboricultural
consultant visits the site periodically to check on the
status of the trees.
Further Tree Pruning: Damage to the trees should be
avoided whenever possible. If trees are damaged,
it should be reported to the arboricultural consultant, who
will repair to tree to the best of his/her
abilities. If limbs of preserved trees show
to be in the way of construction processes, the
limbs should be removed properly by qualified arborists.
Root Pruning: Occasionally roots are
found during the construction process. If this
occurs, ripping should be again avoided. The
arboricultural consultant should be contacted,
cleanly cutting the exposed roots.
Watering: Trees require one to one
and a half inches of water per week. This is
critical through the construction process,
especially if the sprinkling systems are turned off.
Tensiometers are often installed to measure the
amount of water the trees are receiving.
Vine & Branch considers the first five years
following construction as the most critical for tree
survival. Proper care continues to be necessary to
protect the trees from further stress. Precautions
Soil Compaction Mediation: Once
construction is complete, the soil within critical
root zones of the trees should be tested.
high compaction will need remediation measures. Common methods include vertical
mulching (holes drilled in the compacted zone and
filled with organic material) and radial trenching
(trenches up to one foot wide by one foot deep are
dug in a spoke fashion within the root zone).
Fertilization: Each tree should be
evaluated individually for a fertilization
program. In general, fertilization is
performed following the
completion of the construction. By skipping
the first year after construction and then
fertilizing the trees for the next four years.
After the period further fertilization should be
Vine & Branch's
As we have discussed, trees live in a delicate
balance with nature. Any disturbance, from
removing some of the root system to piling materials
around the tree, can have detrimental effects on the
trees. Proper tree preservation takes knowledge of
tree growth and biology as well as an understanding of
the construction process. Hiring the right
arborist gives your trees the best chance at survival.
These trees are less
likely to survive due to a lack of preservation
efforts. The tree
on the right has had a large portion of its roots
removed and another covered by soil. The
tree of the left is going to have difficulty due to soil
compaction and mechanical damage.
arborists before construction to avoid unnecessary