Tree Preservation on Construction and Development Sites generally requires the involvement of the Consulting Arborist from the start of initial planning through completion of the project, whether the project is large (housing development or industrial park), or small (addition to house or widening of driveway).
Before any site work is undertaken, a plan review should be conducted. Desirable trees should be identified and if deemed necessary by the Consultant, watered, fertilized or pruned, prior to any other activities on the site.
Protection against damage to both the above ground parts and the root systems can generally be achieved by erecting physical barriers (fencing) around the trees. These barriers may need to extend well beyond the drip line of the tree, as the root systems of trees frequently extend beyond the drip line. If adequate space is not available to achieve this, other methods of protection must be employed. Frequently, mulching of areas which are heavily used by large equipment is recommended, especially if the area is to be landscaped at a later date, because once soil has been heavily compacted and disturbed it is very expensive, if not impossible to rectify the problem.
Adequately protecting existing trees and plant communities on construction and development sites will provide areas of mature landscape with immediate visual appeal, increasing the property value. It can also save money, not only in landscape installation costs but also in the high maintenance costs required to bring a newly planted landscape to maturity.
Preservation of mature/overmature trees on sites may not be as cost- effective as preservation of younger or semi-mature plants, due to the short useful life left before the trees start to decline naturally. Decisions such as these need to made on an individual basis; preserving a particularly unique, historically significant or otherwise outstanding specimen should be of primary importance.
Very often the negative effects of construction related disturbances to trees do not become apparent for 10-12 years after damage was inflicted, by which time Tree Restoration may not be cost efficient or feasible.
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