Clean Up from Construction Damage

More often than not, you can find the CLC Tree Services crew at someone’s home or business working on a select few or individual trees. We assess, fertilize, prune, cut down and attend to storm damage on trees. Sometimes though, we are called out to clean up other damage. That was the case this week at a local roadwork construction site.

We have often been called out beforehand to trim city trees that are overhanging roadways before summer road maintenance is undertaken. This prevents trees from being damaged when large, heavy machinery is brought in to dig up roads and move around construction materials, such as concrete pipes, large wooden pallets and more. In London, 20-30 streets are reconstructed every year, but many more are worked on either for water mains, sewers, curbs, sidewalks, or a combination thereof, so you can imagine how busy that keeps tree companies in the spring, before the actual construction begins.

Sadly though, accidents still happen. Sometimes it is due to a poor job of trimming beforehand and other times it is due to construction workers that don’t gauge a space between tree limb and a digger’s bucket as well as they could. With the size of some of the diggers, cranes, tractors, dump trucks and more that are used, it is a wonder that further damage is not done. It seems that the roadside trees end up taking the brunt of the wounds inflicted and it is not a rarity that they still get damaged during construction.

That was the case in a small London, Ontario neighbourhood this summer, where several trees have been scraped and a number of limbs broken off. We received a phone call to come out to take a look at the damaged trees and see what we could do. While the trees had been trimmed beforehand, watching large diggers rumble up and down the dug-up street attested to the potential for damages. Many of the trees around the crescent had scrapes, scabs and evidence of limbs that were torn off. CLC sent in a crew to see if we could reduce the damages that were done to these trees.

While you might think it’s not a big deal to leave the trees as they are, or even worry that more pruning could do further damage, that is not the case. If these trees were left as is, their wounds would be susceptible to disease or insect infestation. All of the London and area trees are already suffering, due to the lack of rain that has fallen on our fair city thus far this summer, which also puts these trees at further risk. Add drought to the root damage, and ragged edges on many a limb and branch, and these trees might all be gone in a few years, if nothing is done now. And while the construction company does put tree protection up (a plastic fence to protect the trees from heavy machinery), this does little to protect the roots of the trees when the pavement and everything underneath it is ripped up. One or two roots hurt isn’t a big deal, but when the tree is mere feet from the curb, there is potential for much more damage to occur. I suppose that is the price you pay when the trees are planted too close to the road to begin with, but our crew today was more concerned with helping the damaged trees before further harm could befall them.

So we climbed into this tree and rode the bucket lift up into that one. We carefully trimmed branches with jagged ends and removed limbs that we knew to be dead. As we rumbled around the crescent, the fallen branches were tossed into our chipper as we went. There has already been enough damage to the trees and I suspect the residents of this usually peaceful neighbourhood appreciated that someone was looking out for them during this time of dramatic upheaval. Next year there will be a smoothly paved road, and the memory of early morning diggers beeping just outside of people’s homes will fade. Hopefully, with CLC’s TLC, these area trees will begin to recover as well.

In the meantime, we will keep on trucking to the next site in need, attending to our friends the trees. If you want to care for your own trees, be kind and give them a drink. Your trees will thank YOU for it.

Published by
August 1, 2012 1:49 pm