Unfortunately, construction still takes place in Toronto and the GTA without adequate protection in place for trees. The trunk, limbs and most importantly the roots of trees are all vulnerable to damage and injury during construction. Many types of construction injuries can lead to a tree’s decline and death. Typically, however, a tree may not show signs of decline until several years after construction has occurred, and so the relationship between the construction and the decline or death of the tree is not apparent.
The best way to treat trees for construction injury is to avoid injuring in the first place. Ensure a qualified arborist has been retained and is able to partake in the planning stages of the project. Make sure an adequate tree protection plan has been devised and most important, make sure the protection plan is fully implemented and that all contractors working at the site are aware of and observe the tree protection plan.
However, on sites where proper tree protection planning is not implemented, it is almost a guarantee that trees near the site will be injured. Once an injury to a tree occurs, the key to the tree’s survival is a quick assessment and response by a certified arborist. Trees that are injured to the point where their structure is compromised (example – severing of large anchoring roots in the area of a tree’s root plate) may need immediate removal. Trees with lesser injuries may require various types of remediation treatments.
Some of the common injuries trees sustain during construction activities include:
- Physical injury to the trunk and crown
- Soil compaction in the root zone
- Severing of roots
- Smothering roots by adding soil
- Split and broken branches
- New exposure to wind and sunlight
The choice of remediation techniques depend on the type of injuries sustained. Remediation techniques should always be prescribed and implemented by a qualified arborist. Common remediation techniques include:
- Pruning, cabling, and bracing to repair damaged limbs
- Bark tracing to repair damaged bark
- Aeration to repair compacted soil
- Mulching to repair damaged soil
- Monitoring by a qualified arborist
The success of remediation repairs to trees injured by construction activities depends on multiple factors, including the species and health of the tree, the extent and nature of the injuries, the timing of injuries and response time. But always remember that the most successful remediation repairs are those that do not need to be done because the trees were properly protected prior to the start of any construction activites.
If you are worried your trees may have been injured due to construction on your property, contact our Toronto arborists today for an inspection and the correct remediation plan. Call us at 416-412-2100.