Trees and Home Improvement Projects for Your Colorado Landscape
Fall weather means we are spending more time indoors. With family and friends enjoying indoor activities, maybe you are yearning for additional interior space. Perhaps you are considering some landscape renovations.
Early in your planning it is wise to consider the existing trees in your landscape. Changes in irrigation, soil cover, elevation/grade, foundation excavations, and soil compaction from construction activities all impact roots of existing trees.Tree branches may also require pruning to accommodate the new construction.
We know trees are stationary living plants in the landscape. Like all living things, they get used to their surroundings.Trees grow accustomed to the care they do and do not receive. Just like human beings, once they have put down “roots” change is difficult.
Root of the Matter
Tree roots are the number one consideration when contemplating renovations. Roots form two basic functions. Number one is stability in the soil and two is to absorb water and nutrient. Roots are formed as a function of need. All things being equal, open growing trees will have more structural roots than trees growing on protected sites. Trees relying on what nature provides have more fibrous absorbing roots that the same trees in a lush lawn setting.
How Much Space?
Tree roots can grow well past the canopy edge. The portion of the tree roots critical for the tree’s health and stability is known as the critical rooting zone. To approximate this area, measure the circumference of the trunk at 4.5 feet above ground level. Divide the circumference in inches by six. The result is the number of feet from the trunk that represents the critical rooting zone. For example a 60 inch circumference equates to a ten foot radius from the tree trunk. The ten foot radius is the critical rooting zone. In the critical rooting zone, tree preservation practices should be implemented. Tree branches in the way of construction activities may be temporarily tied out of harm’s way. Branches also may conflict with new construction. Anticipate these conflicts early and determine if the branches can be safely pruned. If pruning can be accomplished, integrate this work into the construction schedule.
Tree Preservation Plan
Municipal ordinances may govern tree preservation and potential tree removals. Think about what trees that you want to preserve through the process. Seek the services of a qualified arborist to assist you in devising a tree protection plan. The most effective plans are devised well in advance of any construction activities.