Pre-Construction Planning Certified Arborist

A professional arborist consultant is an essential member of a project construction and development planning team. Even a small disturbance when building and developing land can affect trees and other vegetation, so it is best to start your project off on the right foot with a site survey, inventory, and tree protection plan by a trained arborist consultant to appropriately manage the situation.

Minnesota Tree Surgeons are the go-to experts in the Lake Minnetonka-West Metro area for all your tree and arborist questions. Here, we answer a few basic questions about the importance of planning with an arborist consultant to ensure your project goes smoothly with minimal damage to trees and surrounding landscapes.

What Does an Arborist Consultant Do?

An arborist consultant is a professionally trained authoritative expert on the safety, health, and preservation of trees. Arborist consultants work closely with other project team members, such as landscape architects, construction engineers, and general project managers. Typical arborist tasks include inspecting development sites, providing expert advice and guidance on construction project design and execution, and monitoring tree conditions as the project proceeds.

Arborists supervise and manage tree removals, pruning, and hazardous tree situations, and also implement tree protection and treatments as needed. Professional arborist consultants are certified by the International Society of Arboriculture based on achievement of appropriate levels of education and experience and a rigorous examination process.

How Does Construction Affect Trees?

Trees are impacted on construction and development sites in several direct and indirect ways. Obvious soil compaction and conspicuous wounds to tree stems, branches, and roots of trees are common issues. Roots are often the most susceptible to damage caused during heavy equipment and excavation work.

We often see long term effects on tree health caused by changes to the tree environment. Construction often results in additional shading of trees, changes to wind and light conditions, soil erosion and grade changes, and an altered surface and subsurface drainage system. Improper handling and spills of toxic materials during construction can result in tree poisoning and soil contamination.

How Can Trees Be Protected During Construction?

Once an arborist consultant has evaluated the status of all trees on site, construction work proceeds with appropriate steps taken to minimize tree damage and soil compaction. Creating a buffer around trees with fencing and tree wrapping are common preventative measures.

Removing trees and soil with the right tools and at the right time or season is important to prevent damage to remaining trees. For example, bulldozing trees to remove them can inadvertently damage connected root systems of adjacent trees. We recommend monitoring trees after construction for signs of decline. Careful nurturing with regular fertilization and watering is a useful follow-up remedy.

What Is a Tree Protection Plan?

A Tree Protection Plan identifies the location, size, species, and status of all trees on a development site and highlights actions to best organize and complete a construction project with minimal damage or disruption to trees and the overall landscape. In our experience, different construction site conditions suggest different treatments, including tree protection, removals, pruning, bracing or cabling, and planting.

The Tree Protection Plan specifies any approvals and permits required for proposed tree treatments and applications. A Tree Protection Plan developed by the expert ISA certified arborists at Minnesota Tree Surgeons touches on all aspects of the landscape and provides a roadmap to keep trees healthy on site from initial design to completion of the construction project.

I’m so glad to have a solid go-to in the future for tree services.— Ryan L.
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