Saving Trees During Construction

So you're building a new home but you love the older trees on the lot and don't want to lose them?

There are several ways to achieve your goal of retaining trees during construction.  The key to success is communication.  First, talk to your architect, and stress that keeping the mature trees on the lot is just as important as having the right kind of kitchen.  In fact, you may want to look for an architect who has experience designing homes with trees in mind.  Communication continues as plans are discussed with landscape architects, arborists, foresters, extension agents or other experts.

Communication with the actual builder is essential.  Many builders sympathize with the desire to save trees, but they may view it as too time-consuming or otherwise costly, or they may not know as much about tree-saving techniques as you do. In the Arbor Day Foundation tradition of honoring individuals and companies whose actions demonstrate high ideals in tree planting and care, an awards program was created in 1988 for builders and developers. To learn more about this program, or for more tips on how to save trees during construction, visit the Arbor Day Foundation Website.

Why Plant Trees?

  • Shade.  For more pleasant summer living.
  • Energy Savings.  For saving on your electric bill.  Three well-placed trees can cut air conditioning costs by 15%.
  • Cooling.  To cool hot streets and parking lots.  Cities are "heat islands" that are five to nine degrees hotter than surrounding areas.  And cities spread each year.
  • Natural Cooling.  Through their shade and transpiration (giving off water), trees provide natural, "low-tech" cooling that means less need to build dams, coal-burning power plants, and nuclear generators.
  • Pollution Prevention.  Leaves work as air cleaners, reducing the amount of harmful CO2 (carbon dioxide). Due to the burning of fossil fuels, CO2 in our atmosphere may soon double.  A tree can absorb 26 pounds of CO2 per year, or about 2.5 tons per acre - and replace it with life-giving oxygen.
  • Conservation.  Trees provide shelter for wildlife, slow rainfall runoff, prevent soil erosion, muffle noise, and provide privacy.
  • Windbreaks.  As windbreaks, trees can be shields against wind and snow. Heating costs can be reduced by as much as 30%.
  • Stress Reduction.  Research shows that trees help reduce stress in the work place and speed recovery of hospital patients.
  • Property Values.  Healthy, well-placed trees add value to your property and make it more saleable.
  • Lower Crime Rates.  Police officials believe that trees and landscaping can install community pride and cool tempers that sometimes erupt during long, hot summers.
  • Cityscape.  We are losing urban trees. In some cities, as many as four trees die or are removed for each new one planted.
  • Urban Trees.  Surveys indicate that about 66 to 100 million spaces exist along our city streets, where trees could be planted.  This translates to the potential to absorb 33 million more tons of CO2 every year and at the same time save consumers $4 billion in energy costs.
  • Beauty.  Trees add beauty and grace to any community setting. They make life more enjoyable and offer a rich inheritance for future generations.
Sources include:  National Arbor Day Foundation, American Forests and National Wildlife Federation.