While it’s important to protect tree trunks from equipment bumps (On the Job, 9/08), it’s more important to protect the roots from compaction due to equipment running over them. Compaction of tree root systems is the leading cause of tree decline and death on new construction sites, although the damage is not apparent right away. It can take years for the tree to decline and eventually die.

The proper way to protect a tree on a construction site is to fence it off to at least its drip line. We use snow fencing to make a barrier around the tree and make sure all equipment and materials stay outside it. In situations where access is needed closer to the tree, you can pile 10 inches of landscaping mulch over the root systems to...

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