Tree Care During Construction: Balancing Growth and Development


Tree care during construction is crucial for maintaining the environmental health and aesthetic appeal of our communities. At Gewalt Hamilton Associates (GHA), we seamlessly integrate tree protection practices into our construction engineering services. Through careful planning and effective techniques, we safeguard these essential natural resources, ensuring a healthy environment for the communities we serve. Our approach demonstrates a clear commitment to the responsible management of ecological impacts throughout the lifecycle of our projects.

GHA’s Proactive Approach to Tree Care

Our dedication to tree care extends far beyond the construction phase. Guided by a long-term vision, we conduct comprehensive assessments to develop customized tree protection plans right from the beginning of a construction project. Through this proactive approach, we can thoroughly evaluate tree health and suitability for preservation. This results in tailored plans that safeguard the trees throughout construction.

Practical Measures for Tree Protection:

Once construction is underway, we implement several protective measures:

  • Root Zone Protection: Root Zone Protection Plans are implemented to ensure the safety of trees during construction. These plans typically involve installing fencing around root zones, extending to the drip line, in order to prevent access by vehicles and equipment. Additionally, heavy machinery and excessive foot traffic are avoided in these areas. To ensure minimal soil compaction and proper weight distribution, we may implement measures like plywood protection or constructing boardwalks.
  • Soil and Moisture Management: Construction plans are designed to minimize changes in soil grade near trees to prevent root smothering or exposure. Adequate watering is incorporated throughout construction, especially during periods of insufficient rainfall. Mulch is strategically incorporated into the plans to optimize soil moisture retention and promote healthy root systems.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation: Predefined guidelines detailed in construction plans ensure careful equipment and material placement, preventing encroachment on protected zones. Continuous monitoring and adaptation ensure minimal disruption to trees throughout construction.

Collaborations and Compliance

Collaboration is a key component of GHA’s approach to successful tree preservation in construction projects. We work closely with municipalities, clients, forestry departments, and environmental organizations to ensure our construction practices meet all local and national environmental standards. These partnerships are fundamental to developing and implementing practices that are both innovative and effective in preserving urban greenery.

Open communication and adherence to regulations are the foundation of our collaborative approach, ensuring successful project outcomes for all stakeholders. Our commitment to environmental compliance goes beyond simply following regulations. By actively safeguarding the natural landscape, we build trust in our construction practices and contribute to the overall well-being of the communities we serve.

GHA’s construction services integrate well-defined protocols and readily available resources to ensure all personnel, from engineers to field workers, are equipped with the best practices for tree preservation. This creates a unified approach that can adapt to unforeseen challenges that might arise on-site. By following these protocols, we minimize environmental impact while safeguarding the natural environment.

Collaborating with Tree City USA Recognized Municipalities

GHA is proud of our work in municipalities recognized by Tree City USA, including Gurnee, Wilmette, and Buffalo Grove. During the Wilmette Avenue Resurfacing project, we ensured the implementation of extensive temporary tree protection measures, such as root pruning and the installation of protective fencing around critical root zones in accordance with the village’s tree protection detail. Similarly, in the Melinda-Hiawatha Water and Street Improvements project in Buffalo Grove, we adhered to stringent tree pruning standards, ensuring all pruning was conducted according to the current ANSI A300 (Part 1) – Pruning Standard, to protect existing trees and enhance the natural landscape.

These collaborations are vital as they align with our mission to foster sustainable environments through rigorous tree preservation efforts. Working in Tree City USA communities means adhering to higher standards of tree care and community engagement, enhancing our project outcomes. These partnerships allow us to share best practices and learn from communities at the forefront of urban forestry management. The thoughtful integration of tree preservation strategies into our construction projects at GHA is not merely about compliance; it’s about contributing to the sustainability and vibrancy of the communities we serve.

Impact and Outcomes

By implementing tree protection initiatives, we ensure our projects seamlessly combine functionality with environmental responsibility.

  • Sustainability Benefits: Our tree preservation efforts contribute to cleaner air, a healthier environment, and a more diverse urban ecosystem. By protecting mature trees and incorporating new plantings, our projects create positive ecological impacts, fostering healthier living and working spaces.
  • Project Success: Prioritizing tree preservation through best practices has repeatedly been proven to enhance the value and appeal of our projects. Residential and commercial spaces that prioritize green spaces and tree conservation are more attractive to tenants and buyers, demonstrating the economic as well as environmental value of our sustainable practices.

Integrating tree preservation into construction projects is crucial for the sustainable development of urban areas. At GHA, we take this responsibility seriously, ensuring that our projects are mindful of their environmental impact. Our commitment to preserving the natural landscape during our projects is evident in our practices. We strive to protect natural resources, enhancing the quality and sustainability of urban environments. As we continue to innovate and apply our expertise in construction, GHA remains dedicated to supporting the ecological health and visual appeal of the communities we serve.

For more information, contact Lucas Deferville, Assistant Director of Construction Services.