How to protect trees during backyard remodel

 In Inexpensive Tree Care Blog

Before embarking on major backyard remodels or construction projects, it’s critical that you take steps to protect your trees from damages. Though trees have the appearance of stability and resilience, they’re remarkably sensitive to changes made to the soil. It’s important to remember that most serious damage often remains hidden in the root system.

From soil compaction to improper disposal of debris, backyard remodels and other construction projects easily injure and kill your trees if not they are well-thought out before groundbreaking.

Soil damage

Loosely packed soil is critical to a tree’s overall health. Tree roots must be able to absorb water, oxygen and nutrients from the soil. When heavy machinery or irresponsibly placed building materials are not too close to trees, roots suffocate and the tree will begin to wither and eventually die.

To prevent your tree’s untimely demise, ensure that you have a traffic plan for both machines and people to limit the amount of physical damage done to the soil. If there is no way to reroute the paths, consider installing root systems bridges and spread out wood chips to ensure aeration.

In addition, another big drain on the health of your soil is improper disposal of materials and chemicals. Limestone, alkaline clay and concrete contain properties that can create changes in soil pH and essentially make the soil so toxic that it kills trees.

tree-roots-destroying-sidewalkRoot damage

There is a reason most cities have tree ordinances requiring a 10ft barrier around trees you plant to save. When a tree’s root system is cut back by as much as 30-40%, it makes it that much harder for a tree to properly absorb water and nutrients to continue thriving. Rather than digging large, damaging trenches near trees that destroy root systems, consider tunneling under the root system altogether. As a general rule of thumb, you should switch from trenching to tunneling when you encounter roots larger than 1 inch in diameter.


Paved paths, such as sidewalks and driveways, can cause hazards not just for the trees, but also for homeowners and guests. When sidewalks are placed too close to a tree, the roots are strong enough to push through the top and create dangerous walking conditions for anyone who may not be looking down at their feet. Save yourself the headache (and potential liability) by planning pavement outside of the tree’s root zones.

Symptoms of construction damage to trees

Some symptoms of construction damage to trees can appear within a few weeks, while other symptoms may take years to manifest and kill trees.

Early symptoms

  • Wilted leaves, drooping branches
  • Premature shedding of leaves, excessive pine needles
  • Flowering out of season
  • Abnormally large seed production

Long-term symptoms (1-7 years)

  • Yellowed leaves, dead branches
  • Abnormally slow annual growth
  • Less resistant to insects, disease

Inexpensive Tree Care is committed to providing the highest quality service for not only protecting tree health, but also allowing them to grow and thrive for years to come.  From tree pruning, to tree removal and stump grinding, our experts can do it all so that you can enjoy your dream backyard exactly the way you want it. Call Inexpensive Tree Care and get started on your next project with us!

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