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According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, the number one killer of trees is due to construction damage - damage which can clearly be prevented.

To truly protect a tree on a construction site, its life-support envelope must be respected (according to American Forests). This envelope encompasses the area around the tree which should be larger in diameter than the crown or canopy of the tree. In other words, the protected area should extend at a minimum to the drip line (the point of a tree¹s farthest branches) of the tree. Tying a ribbon around the bark of a tree does not provide protection! 50% of a tree¹s roots are located within its drip line area.

How to save trees during construction/land-clearing - Believe it or not! (Information taken from National Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA Bulletin #14)
  1. Before land clearing equipment is brought to the construction site, clearly identify and mark the area under a tree¹s canopy to at least its drip line. Wooden stakes (minimum 3 feet tall) with yellow caution tape or webbed fencing should be used to mark the areas.
  2. After the initial land clearing is completed, the site should be monitored regularly to be sure contractors understand and honor these barricades. Equipment and materials should not be stored and trucks should not be parked within these protected tree areas.
  3. Use a retaining wall to accommodate any grade changes necessary. Such accommodations will add diversity to the landscape.