Quality of life in our city is enhanced when we have a canopy of trees shading our homes and streets, mitigating storm water effects, providing energy savings, and improving property values. Research by the USDA Forest Service indicated that for every $1 spent on urban trees, $2.70 in benefits is returned. As forests, greenbelts, and open wooded land in the Dallas metroplex becomes more fragmented, we lose a significant amount of the ecosystem services that wooded areas provide, such as storm water and flood control, and mitigation of greenhouse gases.
Tree protection involves activities designed to preserve and protect tree health by avoiding damage to tree roots, trunk or crown. Site development planning prior to site disturbance should include identifying tree protection zones for all trees designated for retention. Each tree has a critical root zone (CRZ) that varies by species and site conditions. The CRZ can be determined by finding the outer drip line of the trees canopy. Cutting or disturbing a large percentage of a tree’s roots increases the likelihood of the tree’s failure or death. In order to help trees remain as healthy and stable as possible during the construction process and beyond:
Establish a critical root zone for all trees that will remain on site.
Install strong fencing around the critical root zone and require the fence to remain in place for the life of the development project.
Post appropriate signage to help convey the importance of the critical root zone and tree protection fencing to workers.
Never under any circumstances park a vehicle or store equipment/materials underneath a tree inside of the tree protection fencing; Keep that area clear.
Avoid cutting tree roots over 4 inches in diameter.
Make all necessary cuts to tree roots cleanly; Never tear with a backhoe. A clean cut encourages closure and confines the spread of decay.
Do not change the soil grade within the critical root zone. Doing so will suffocate the roots and cause them to die.