WSU Extension

Hortsense

Common Cultural : Construction damage
(revision date: 4/30/2013)


Biology
Disturbances in the root zone such as cutting roots, covering roots with sidewalks or pavement, adding a layer of topsoil, changing soil grade, or changing water drainage patterns can damage or kill trees. Symptoms may occur soon after the disturbance, but commonly are not evident until years later (even up to 10 years). Douglas-fir and madrone are native trees very sensitive to environmental changes.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Do not mound soil and construction debris over the root zones of trees.
  • Do not trench through the root zones of large trees.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

Images
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Caption: Root damage and dieback resulting from construction
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Root suffocation/dieback from mounding soil over roots
Photo by: R.S. Byther