When do trees need protecting? Anytime an action above or below ground has the potential to injure them. That can include installing a new lawn or trenching for a cable television wire. It can include putting in a new driveway or a room addition.
How do you protect trees? First, learn what it takes to keep trees healthy. If you understand what it takes to keep trees healthy, you can understand how our actions sometimes lead to their decline. Next, tree protection takes place when you apply that knowledge by having a plan in mind on how to protect trees before any ground is broken.
Start by making an inventory of the trees you will be working around. If you are just working around one or two trees, you can do that by making a simple map listing the size, species, and health of each tree. If you have a lot of trees that need to be protected, it may make sense to hire a certified arborist to develop the plan for you. Take your tree information and overlay it with your construction plans to determine how much the planned activity will impact the tree. If the planned construction will have such an impact on the tree that it won't survive, either make the decision to remove the tree or change construction project to avoid the tree. Once you have identified which trees are in the path of your planned construction activities, put that information down on paper and communicate it to anyone you hire to work on the project. The quality of the tree protection zones you establish will be critical to the success of minimizing the impacts of the project on your trees.