Landscaping - what could possibly go wrong?
The pictures in the first gallery below are lifted from the recent social media advertising feed of a landscaping company. Click on each picture for close-up detail and see if you can spot the potential issues.
On the face of it, this project looks like a professionally executed job with decent materiels, good workmanship, a tidy site and a quality finish.
The client should be very happy with their new landscape features and the expectation of many years of trouble and maintenance free enjoyment. Let’s hope that is the case.
I’d give it 3 - 5 years before the problems start.
They probably won’t be problems with the materiel or construction of the landscaping work - on face value, that all looks to be very professionally executed.
But look now at the pictures in the second gallery - click on each picture.
Excavation within the rooting area of existing trees has severed structural roots which directly, adversely impact upon whole tree stability.
The wounds created in the major ‘woody’ roots close to the tree(s) stem allow entry vectors for fungal pathogens.
The consequential loss of the finer, feeder roots will proportionately reduce the capacity for the exchange of oxygen, moisture and nutrients required to sustain the tree(s) and further reduce wind load bearing capacity.
Inadvertently, the affected tree(s) have been battered on 3 fronts.
Some of the structural roots which hold the tree upright have been removed, there is now an entry vector for fungal pathogens which the tree will require additional reserves of energy to defend against and the ability to absorb the necessary nutrients to sustain that additional defence has been reduced.
You really don’t need to be an expert to recognise the potential adverse effect upon the tree(s) from these excavations (once they have been highlighted), but what might the implications be?
In a nutshell, if you reduce the trees ability to hold itself upright, it is more likely to fall over.
If you ‘injure’ a tree (don’t forget, the roots are just as much an integral part of the tree as the leaves or the stem!) you place an additional burden upon the tree’s vascular system which transports the energy and nutrients required to ‘fix’ the injury. Whilst that wound is ‘open’, it is easy access for fungal colonisation which will further hamper or degrade the tree’s function and structural integrity.
It’s too late for the person in this example.
They have had their landscaping work done, paid the bill and everyone is happy.
That might be a different story in 3 - 5 years when the (looks like mature Holm Oak) leaning towards the neighbour’s house collapses on their roof though or the (looks like mature Macrocarpa) falls in the road.
It’s REALLY simple:
digger + trees = problems that won’t be immediately apparent.
Solution = get appropriate arboricultural advice and guidance when working near trees.
If you think good arboricultural advice is too "expensive", just go with the alternative.