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Compaction and Root-clipping Kill Trees

protecting trees from the bulldozer

What kind of personality would you expect from someone who drives a bulldozer for a living? Dozer operators like to knock things down, and without proper direction, they will knock down everything in their path. The bulldozer operator and the construction foreman need to sit down and have a frank discussion about the special care needed to avoid damaging existing vegetation. It is difficult to have a good conversation with a bulldozer engine roaring in the background, so the discussion needs to take place with the operator before the machinery is fired up and the driver is poised to destroy.

It is extremely important to require in specifications and drawings that orange protective fencing must be placed at the drip line boundary of any tree you want to preserve during construction demolition. Being pushed over is not the only danger to trees. Bulldozer operators like to, understandably, park their heavy equipment in a nice, shady spot when it is not in use. It only takes a few passes under a tree with a regular passenger vehicle to compact the soil to 95%. Imagine the effect of a piece of equipment that might buckle a typical driveway pavement surface! The specifications should include protection of the ground surrounding trees, too. The time to set limitations on clearing is at the drawing table.

Sturdy orange protective fencing is the  visual clue needed to help the clearing contractor understand the limits for his heavy equipment. Locate it beyond the drip line of any tree you are trying to save. As a landscape designer, you cannot assume good sense and sensitivity to the vegetation and aesthetics is universal. The clearing contractor may not take the time to discuss fine grading limitations with the bulldozer driver. A tall, loud, orange fence communicates a strong message, even when all the parties involved in clearing neglect to warn the dozer driver.

orange protective fencing

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Protecting Existing Vegetation during Construction