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Successful tree preservation during site development

Here in the South East US we are fortunate to have the growing conditions which provide a climate for a wonderful variety of large shade trees, for which we have become known. Because of the abundant sunlight, plenty of water and rich soils, our trees have flourished over time and their numbers multiplied to produce the wonderful canopy of shade that graces our landscape today.

Live Oaks in particular have become the favorite icon of the Deep South and are often depicted in photographs and movies of well known plantation homes and park landscapes. With a mature tree's large trunk and expansive canopy of arching limbs, spreading to up to 30 feet from the trunk, they provide a welcome protection of shade from the hot summer sun. These majestic giants appear invulnerable and ever present, generation after generation, a seemingly timeless presence in our lives. Amazingly some are as old as two hundred years and pre-date most of our country's history, so it is easy to believe they will live through almost anything. But, the truth is that they are more sensitive than we think and can easily die from changes with the ground area underneath their canopy, where their root system lives. Affecting the roots even slightly, can negatively affect a trees health and appearance over time, which ultimately reduces a development's appearance and value.

Although most new developments have sincere intentions for tree preservation and may plan for existing trees to remain, what less understand is the follow through necessary to successfully preserve existing trees during and after construction

It has become evident that the areas beneath the canopy of most trees are sensitive to root damage and soil compaction. This damage can be caused by the severing of roots or additions of large areas of impervious materials, such as concrete or asphalt, which can mean a slow death for these irreplaceable trees. Additionally, a change in the use of the area under a tree for extended periods of time by, vehicles or heavy equipment can also mean certain death to a tree since a vehicle's weight compacts the soil.

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