Beautiful, mature and large-canopied trees are some of Pennsylvania’s most valuable assets. The average yards here have the types of trees that postcards are made of. These trees grow for decades, and often hundreds, of years in order to reach their admirable heights and grow all that gorgeous foliage. Even so, just a single week or so of new construction or property improvements can spell disaster for them.
Develop Land Responsibly To Preserve Priceless Wooded Sites
I can’t tell you how many times I have visited newly constructed homes or developed sites and experienced a heavy, sinking feeling in my gut. Often, enthusiastic home- or business owners are excited about their plans for new trees – only to learn they’re going to lose the ones they have. Unfortunately, they were oblivious to the fact that an arborist’s services was even more important before the construction crew ever broke ground.
What these well-meaning, tree-loving property owners don’t realize is that many of the trees on their property are already so greatly damaged from the construction process, they will suffer – both visibly and internally – if they survive at all.
Watch Out For the Trees’ Root Zones
Some of the most common causes of damage to mature trees are the result of damaged root zones. Look at the mature canopy of your favorite tree. Now, look at the ground beneath it. In most cases, the root system below the ground is equal to – or even greater – than the area comprised by visible branches and leaves. Roots are the source of life for trees, instrumental in carrying water and nutrients throughout the tree’s structure. If the roots are damaged below, the tree will suffer above. It’s as simple as that.
Odds are your new construction project will include some type of excavation or movement of soil, requiring the use of heavy equipment. This excavation is required for septic system work, grading, making way for a new driveway or to prepare the ground for a building’s foundation. If the equipment operator isn’t aware of where the root zone begins and ends, he can do irreparable damage.
There is no way to avoid using heavy equipment on a site where a new dwelling is being constructed, but we can add guidelines and stipulations to excavating companies that resist and eliminate the use of heavy equipment throughout the root zone of the trees that will be left behind.
The solution: Have an arborist walk the property before any heavy equipment is used. We can mark the root zones of mature trees for you so equipment operators can do their work around the perimeter. We’re also happy to speak with your construction foreman so he understands the bigger picture.
We are always happy to schedule a consultation so we can take a look around and educate you and/or construction team leaders (if need be) about what’s growing on your site and which trees are the most important to preserve. We will leave you with a plan for protecting your trees once construction is about to commence.
Sometimes, we discover that a tree or two would benefit from cabling and bracing. In addition to protecting your trees from continuous, unnatural vibrations (the result of heavy machinery) or an errant collision from a worker’s truck, it can also protect the workers on your site, especially when the wind is blowing or the ground is soggy from rains and snowmelt.
Keep in mind that you pay a steeper price for a heavily wooded lot, and it would be a shame if that investment were lost due to damaged or felled trees, which could have been avoided with a single consultation from a certified arborist. I’ve been in this business for 23 years and have seen far too many homeowners regret the preventable loss of their wooded investment.
The Making of A Tree Magnet
Speaking of my 23 years in the tree business…
Each year, the crew here at Joshua Tree gathers to make a tree magnet that we send to clients and vendors as an insert in our holiday cards. We just completed the makings of 2015’s magnet and thought we’d share a couple of pictures so you can see how it’s done. It’s always fun and is a signal that fall is upon us and the end of the year is quickly drawing nigh.
(click image to enlarge)
Contact Joshua Tree anytime you have a question or concern about your property’s trees or ornamental shrubs. We’re always happy to be of assistance.