Houston is currently enjoying a robust and vibrant economy, with new developments and construction projects starting each week. As a result, many residential and commercial properties are under construction, often with healthy and mature shade trees nearby. Although many property owners now prefer to keep established trees on the property whenever possible, the sad truth is that construction projects can often lead to tree damage or tree death because of inadequate tree protection.
Construction projects can damage large, healthy shade trees in a variety of ways, leading to increased tree care costs for the property owner. The most common cause of tree damage during construction projects is from construction vehicles or equipment damaging vulnerable tree roots. Tires or other heavy construction equipment can crush tree roots, or even completely sever roots from the rest of the tree. The root system is the lifeline of a tree, allowing the tree to absorb vital nutrients such as oxygen, water and other minerals from the surrounding soil. Damage to the roots can prevent the tree from getting these essential elements, leading to diminished health or even tree death.
Additionally, trees need to be protected during construction projects to prevent tree wounds or structural damage. Large machinery or construction equipment can strike unprotected trees, causing them to shift and become unstable, or also leave gaping tree wounds. Unstable trees can lead to potential disasters later if the tree topples over onto nearby people, property or structures. In addition, large tree wounds on the tree trunk or main limbs can leave the tree vulnerable to invasive tree diseases or insect infestations. Property owners would face much higher tree care costs, since uneven trees would need cabling and bracing to be stable, and sick trees would need treatment or even tree removal if they don't survive the disease or insects.
Finally, construction projects near trees can easily lead to tree damage or tree death because of the damage to the surrounding soil. Construction projects around unprotected trees can result in compacted soil, which prevents the tree roots from obtaining needed water, oxygen and other elements from the soil. Also, toxic chemicals and liquids used during construction projects, such as paint or oil, can easily seep into the soil and damage nearby root systems, or contaminate nearby water sources. Tree damage or even tree death can result from contaminated construction soil, leading to increased landscape costs for the property owner.