Tree protection is a highly important yet often overlooked aspect of construction, and is often required by the city and county. From ensuring native trees in your area are preserved to removing trees that are at risk for failure, consulting an arborist is a crucial part of building and renovation. For anyone hoping to protect trees during construction, be sure to ask your arborist the following questions.

How do trees affect construction?

When building new properties or expanding existing ones, how these expansions will affect nearby trees and the greater surrounding ecosystem should be taken into consideration. While some trees are important parts of the Pacific Northwest ecosystem and should be preserved, others may be reaching the end of their lives and pose a risk to homes, electrical lines, and creating other hazards in the area.

Identifying which trees should be protected may require more scrutiny than you think. Some create necessary habitats for wildlife and preserve biodiversity in an area. Trees designated as exceptional will not typically be removed unless they are deemed hazardous or would prevent reasonable execution of the construction project.

On the other hand, some trees may need to be removed because they pose a risk to the surrounding area. This includes trees at likely to fall because of root damage, trees with loose branches, or other hazards. Consulting one of Washington Tree Experts’ ISA Certified Arborists can help you determine how what to do about trees within your construction area.

How does protection differ for individual trees and groups of trees?

Protecting groups of trees versus individual trees is also an important consideration. The last century of development in Seattle has taken a toll on this area’s native tree population. As a means of protecting native trees in this area, the government limits the ability to remove them. The ISA outlines the following criteria for groups of trees considered within an Excellent Stand Protection Zone, or a zone of trees that is healthy and should be protected:

  • Healthy soil
  • Prevalent wildlife
  • Ecological function
  • Natural forest succession and regeneration

Criteria for groups of trees that may be considered in Poor Stand Protection Zone, or a zone of trees that is unhealthy and may be a hazard to the community include:

  • Trees that can blow over easily
  • Sparse forest areas
  • Poor soil and erosion
  • Prevalent weeds and invasive species

How are trees protected during construction?

The simplest way to protect trees is to keep construction away from them. This includes fencing off the area surrounding trees. When protecting trees during construction, it is crucial to take a tree’s crown, roots, and trunk into account. This means protecting not only the actual tree but also its critical root zone, the ground that covers a tree’s roots.

Arborists will often fence off the immediate area surrounding trees according to their size radius. An ISA certified professional can help you determine the best way to protect your trees during construction. To avoid negative impact on your trees during construction, implement the following best practices:

  • Store construction materials away from the critical protection zone
  • Keep vehicles, equipment and people out of this zone
  • Mitigate exposure to water or any chemicals used during construction as these can lower soil quality
  • Avoid attaching anything to a tree using nails or spikes to maintain the tree’s integrity

How do I find an arborist to help with trees during construction?  

If you are concerned about tree protection during construction in your area but do not know what to do, we are here to help. Our team at Washington Tree Experts is a number of ISA Certified arborists who can make sure your trees are protected or removed if they are hazardous and unhealthy. To learn more about our services or to schedule an evaluation with one of our experts, contact us today.

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