Safety in Numbers

March 24, 2021 · 1 minute read
Safety in Numbers

If you’re building a home in a wooded area or already live in a home with surrounding trees, you’re almost guaranteed to have or will have experienced some attention to tree needs. If for whatever reason, your needs or wants turn to tree removal there are some things to keep in mind. If you have a tree that becomes compromised, then it could be an easy decision. If it’s more of a want than an obvious need, then it’s worth considering what else could be impacted.

Whatever your reasons, trees can be like groups of friends: Consider that there is safety in numbers. This is on my mind a lot with trees, and it’s especially true for trees that for most of their life have lived within a larger community of other trees.

Often, if there is an abundance of trees, the community will protect those on the inside (I know this isn’t always the case and, of course, many other variables can have an effect: construction, root damage, injury, etc.). But when you begin removing parts of the community, the supporting dynamics weaken. Trunk bases and root systems that have not had the need to become strong enough to withstand high winds find themselves exposed and searching for grip while trying to hold up their leveraging canopies that have mostly developed their branching near the top of the forest where the sunlight hits.

The ground that roots have always found firm and sturdy become soft and spongy in the absence of the weighted trunks with their roots under them helping to hold on. Adequate drainage often becomes a problem as well.

New construction is very often a tough test for a tree. Arborists visit many new homes with impressive landscapes and freshly rolled out lawns to inspect stressed-out trees left wondering where their friends — their community — went. Imagine walking out of the house to discover everyone on your block has disappeared. It might be a little stressful, you may even experience a little die back from the top down.

Anyway, if you are considering a change in your landscape with trees, consider the new areas of wind and light flow and what may be the collateral impact beyond your initial goal.