Tree preservation

The term “tree preservation” is used here to cover both prevention and remediation of damage. It involves a range of techniques aimed at minimizing or alleviating the impact of human activity on urban trees, from the acute trauma of construction to the chronic degradation of the soil ecosystem. Urban Forest Analytics can work with you to decide which trees should be selected, how to protect trees from construction damage, and what to expect from preservation intervention.


It is a clear, though sad, fact that not all trees can or even should be preserved, despite what sympathetic individuals or groups may naturally wish. Preservation efforts can be very expensive, and tree owners and managers have a justified interest in seeing that their monies are well spent. This interest is supported by expert opinion about the biological viability and structural integrity of any tree being considered for preservation:

  • How healthy is the tree? Will it be able to produce enough to cover its needs?
  • How stable is the tree? Is the whole tree or one of its parts likely to fail in the forseeable future?
  • Are serious pest present? What susceptibilities does this species tend to have?

We work with clients to provide the reliable information they need about the trees so that they, in turn, can reach informed and reasonable decisions about the best way to proceed.


In its most common usage, prevention refers to techniques that are applied before construction activity near the tree with goal of retaining all the benefits of mature trees for the community. It may include any or all of the following:

  • root zone protection
  • mulching
  • irrigation
  • crown cleaning
  • root pruning
  • pest treatment
  • fertilization (if needed)
  • root pruning
  • monitoring

Contrary to popular belief, the most critical target of preservation efforts is usually below ground, with the result that the first two techniques on this list make up the absolute minimum for both protection and remediation. We work with all the interested parties to promote tree protection; developers, architects, tree managers, citizen groups, etc. They all have interests in the outcome, and those interests sometimes compete with each other because both development and prevention require space for success.


The word remediation covers techniques applied to declining trees, and similarly includes a large number of possible techniques. Careful analysis is required before beginning remediation, as some declining trees can not be “saved,” and none can be saved forever. In addition to the what is already listed under prevention, other steps may be taken:

  • soil aeration
  • soil restoration
  • soil replacement
  • crown reduction
  • crown stabilization

Please contact us if you are considering tree preservation–we are anxious to help you keep mature trees and their benefits in the community, and also anxious that you spend your resources wisely.

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