Tree Care

How to Keep Your Trees Safe

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The most common way to unintentionally kill a tree in urban environments is to harm the roots of the tree. Though a tree's roots are not visible, they are surprisingly shallow and can be easily disturbed. The roots are critical to a tree's health and require soil with sufficient space between soil particles for air and water to circulate.

To keep your trees safe, avoid common activities that cause root damage and death of trees:

  • DO NOT compact soil surrounding trees by driving or parking under trees, storing heavy materials near trees, or routing excessive foot traffic over tree roots. Soil compaction occurs surprisingly easily.
  • DO NOT cut or damage roots when trenching to install or repair plumbing and other utilities. Ask your contractor about boring under roots instead.
  • DO NOT change soil grade near trees which can result in different water drainage patterns and disrupt the health of the tree.
  • DO NOT remove or add a large volume of topsoil over tree roots.

REFERENCES University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry, Defining Soil Compaction: Sites and Trees, Dr. Kim Coder, University of Georgia, July 2000; http://www.forestry.uga.edu/outreach/pubs/pdf/FOR00-4.pdf 

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