The benefits of having trees around us has been proven time and again. The National Arbor Day Foundation tells us their shade cools us in summer, saving 50% on air conditioning costs. In winter, they provide a windbreak which can reduce heating bills by as much as 30%. But often, trees aren’t the first thing to come to mind when planning a major home renovation like the addition of a new room or two.
Saving trees during the construction process requires a bit of thought and planning. It also provides you the opportunity to assess the condition of your trees. If trees have to come down, it’s obviously best to keep the ones that are strong and healthy. If you have a large mature tree and the branch tips are dying or it’s hosting a fungus, it may be to too old to save. Time to think about a new tree to put in its place.
The best way to protect your trees during construction is to work closely with your builder. Identify areas away from your trees for parking and storing building materials. Put up barriers around all your trees near the construction site.
It’s important to note that compaction of soil during construction – by trucks driving over the ground directly above tree roots or workers constantly treading on the area – cuts off air and water passageways in the soil. Trees can’t survive if they don’t have the exchange of air and water between the roots and the tree itself. If it’s not possible to put barriers around the trees, you can spread a thick layer (several inches) of wood chips over the root zone to help protect the tree.
Make sure to think about saving your trees during your next major renovation. Think about the cost saving measures trees provide. And don’t forget those birds that fill the morning air with song – they’ll appreciate it, too, when their homes are not lost while your is improved.
text by Ann D. Travers
photo #1 source
photo #2 source