Trees, Construction, and YOU

May 18, 2023 · 1 minute read
Trees, Construction, and YOU

In the past decade + that I’ve lived in Richmond, I’ve seen an explosion of development. It seems like everywhere I look there’s a new apartment complex, subdivision, or addition to a house being built. Unfortunately, when it comes to trees around said developments, their care during and after construction does not cross the mind of some builders. If you’re planning on developing the land around a tree, consider these steps to help ensure the tree’s health and survival both through the process and for years to come.

What’s the point?

Construction damage in trees is usually seen in the form of root damage, grade changing, and heavily compacted soil. This is caused by digging and heavy machinery driving on the tree’s root system. Other damage can be in the form of physical damage to the trunk and canopy, from being hit by machinery or debris. It’s important to find a solution to mitigate these risks!

Design with the tree in mind

The first and possibly the most important step in tree preservation is to come up with a design that incorporates the tree. The big thing to remember however is that the root zone of the tree needs just as much protection, if not more than the trunk and canopy.

construction near a tree


Now that you’ve established a design, how do you keep the tree safe during development? The best option is to set up a physical barrier around the tree’s protected zone. This is often done with temporary fencing. It’s crucial to make sure this barrier stays up! Ideally, construction should not take place anywhere within the dripline (canopy) of the tree. This helps preserve the tree’s root zone.


I often see root damage as the most common form of impact from construction. One of the best ways to help remedy that impact is with de-compacting the soil. We typically bring in an air spade tool, and then add in compost and wood chips. Check out some of our previous articles on this subject for more information!

If you’ve got an upcoming construction project around your trees, or have a tree that might’ve been impacted by construction, give us a call. We’d be happy to help!