By Nancy Penrose

Trees are an important part of any home landscape as they provide shade in the summer and shield against the wind and snow during the winter months. The leaves clean out the dust and pollutants from the air and add shelter to wildlife. Not to mention, they add beauty and value to a community.

Unfortunately, trees are often damaged during construction and may even die shortly after construction has been completed. This causes the homeowner to remove and replace the damaged trees, which adds expense and time. It’s important to protect trees from construction as much as possible, for both the trees’ and homeowner’s sake.

Types of Construction Damage

There are a couple of types of construction damage and when trees aren’t taken care of during construction, the following can occur:

• Environmental changes, such as soil compaction or equipment driving over roots, due to the construction site.
• Physical wounds due to careless use of construction equipment. While trees can repair small injuries, they have a harder time and become stressed with larger wounds.

Protecting Trees During Construction

The very first thing one should do to protect trees during construction is to determine which trees should be saved and prioritize those trees. Trees that are undesirable or already in a state of decline can be marked for removal. But for trees that you want to keep, which will probably be the majority, protecting the roots is very critical. By putting a fence around the tree to prevent construction crews from accidentally damaging the roots or the upper part of the tree, one can ensure these trees will remain healthy. Or if necessary, a tree specialist could help with moving trees out of the construction area.

Nancy Penrose is owner of Big Trees Inc. (, (tree nursery Snohomish, WA), one of the largest Seattle tree nurserys, specializing in large trees for sale and transplant tree service. Learn more about tree preservation at and for more tips on big trees care or installation go to See our video at and connect with us on Facebook at