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Tree Protection & Preservation: Save Your Tree Before It’s Too Late

Having trees in your landscape comes with a list of great benefits for you and your property; however, there are also a variety of stimuli that can interfere with optimal tree health. To combat the natural environmental stressors that happen in their urban environment, the best thing to focus on is tree protection.

For example, did you know animals can cause damage to trees? Rabbits, birds, and, even small animals like mice can cause a great deal of damage to a tree’s trunk or foliage. Some have a preference for certain species of tree, so damage varies. At RTEC, we strive to care for everything in nature, which includes animals, so we actively work to find environmentally-friendly solutions that can protect and provide for everything in the environment – which we will discuss in this article.

Keep reading to find out how you can protect your trees, every day and when it comes to construction around trees. We’ll touch on important basics like tree maintenance, tree pruning, and root protection.

Why Should I Care About Tree Damage?

spiral into tree death, tree protection through tree doctors against tree problems
Actively protect your tree: the further down into the spiral, the lesser of a chance the tree has of surviving.

For best tree protection, you’ll want to have your tree proactively checked by your tree doctor (Certified Arborist) to ensure it doesn’t fall into The Spiral Into Tree Death. It’s vital to actively care for your tree and make sure it stays protected against the common factors that impact their overall health.

  • When a tree is severely damaged it will die and you will eventually have to remove the tree.
  • Tree removal is expensive and can cost more than the preservation plan to save the tree.
  • A mature healthy tree can raise property values by 10%
  • Higher Energy Costs: The shade and windshield provided by a tree can reduce heating & cooling costs up to 15%
  • Fairfax County and other surrounding counties have laws that require you obtain a tree protection plan (tree preservation plan) before performing certain types of construction. If you don’t obtain this and damage the trees you could be facing fines from your county.

Worried About Your Trees?

Protect Trees From Deer Through Deterrents

Deer deterrents can protect your trees from deer damage. There are several easy DIY tips and techniques you can follow to protect your trees from deer. Our Certified Arborists and team of tree service experts have also put together a Deer Deterrent & Management Program that provides an eco-friendly way to protect your trees against deer activity, which is especially prevalent during the mating season.

> Learn more about how to protect your trees from deer damage

Tree Guards Promote Tree Protection

Tree guards can also help you prevent animal damage and protect your trees. These are great for promoting root protection. They prevent rabbits and other pests from burrowing beneath the tree’s roots. You can also wrap the branches in burlap or sisal kraft paper to protect them from deer.

Cutting Branches Proactively Protects Trees

If you don’t have burlap or sisal kraft paper isn’t an option, try cutting some lower branches. Tree pruning and trimming are very important for a tree’s health. But it can also promote tree protection. 

Tree pruning and trimming can help ward away deer. By cutting the lower branches, deer won’t be able to damage them.

Maintaining your tree through tree trimming also decreases your tree’s susceptibility against tree diseases and pest infestations. But don’t prune your trees too much, as it will prevent growth if it’s done too often. Trees also need time to heal after they’ve been pruned or trimmed.

> Find out the best time to trim your trees


Tree Protection During Construction

Tree Protection During Construction 3

Tree protection during construction is extremely important because the damage that occurs during this process is irreversible. Trees, especially their critical root zones, are also very easily damaged by construction.

When planning your new deck, patio, porch, or addition most people are focused on the look of the finished project but few ever think about how their trees will be affected. Many homeowners think because the construction is happening on the other side of the yard or far away from the tree that the tree is safe. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong.  Because a tree’s critical root zone extends to or past their canopy tree, construction on one side of the yard can kill a tree on the other side.


In order to prevent root damage, soil compaction, and trunk injuries, you need to invest in a Tree Protection Plan (also known as Tree Preservation Plan & Tree Conservation Plan) before you start renovations. 


Laws About Tree Protection:

Fairfax County and Arlington County both require a tree protection plan for anyone engaging in land disturbing activities in the county. For homeowners, they will usually require this plan if they are doing major hardscape/landscape changes or major renovations such as an addition. You will need to hire a professional, such as a Certified Arborist, to design this plan and submit it to the County.

Fairfax County’s Tree Conservation Plan: Fairfax County refers to their tree protection ordinance/plan as a Tree Conservation Plan. More information can be found here: http://fairfaxcounty.elaws.us/code/coor_apxid44897_ch122

Arlington County’s Tree Preservation Plan: Arlington County refers to their tree protection ordinance/plan as a Tree Preservation Plan. More information can be found here: https://environment.arlingtonva.us/trees/support-trees/specimen-trees/tree-preservation-ordinance/

Tree Preservation Plan 1

Tree Protection During Construction 4 - Damage
Protect your tree to avoid the construction damage that happened to the trunk of this tree

How Can I Protect My Trees From Construction?

Invest in a Tree Protection Plan (Tree Preservation Plan).  These plans typically consist of 3 stages to give your tree the best chance of survival.

First Stage: Prep your trees for the construction.
Second Stage: Limit the amount of damage and stressors they will encounter during construction.
Third Stage: Provide aftercare that will help your tree recover from the stress of construction.

Not every tree will survive construction. If a tree has existing health issues it may have a low chance of survival, even if it has a tree protection plan. In these situations, an Arborist may recommend removing the tree instead. A Certified Arborist will be able to walk you through this process and explain the reasoning behind every step in the plan.


Common Tree Preservation Techniques:

 Root Preparation

Tree Preservation Fencing

Compacted Soil Remediation

 Tree Protection During Construction Tree Protection During Construction 1 Tree Protection During Construction 2
 Root pruning may be required to ensure that the tree’s root system is not ripped or torn during construction. Root pruning should be performed by an experienced plant health care technician. Fencing and warning signs should be installed to keep heavy trucks, machinery, and people out of the critical root zone.Compaction occurs from heavy machinery and equipment driving over or parking on the tree’s critical root zone. Compacted soil decreases water and air constricting the tree’s root growth. We utilize innovative tree maintenance techniques and processes to achieve decomposition and soil remediation.

Want to learn more about the benefits of tree preservation and maintenance? Visit http://www.treepreservation.org/.

Get Your Tree Protection Plan by booking an appointment online or calling 703.573.3029