Protecting Trees
Douglas L. Airhart & Guy Zimmerman III

Web Site Guide: [Home]


Right Tree / Right Place

Selecting Trees

Transplanting Trees

Mulching & Staking

Summary Diagram 

Pruning Trees

Topping Hurts!

Protecting Trees

Tree Root Myths

Pine Bark Beetles

Live Christmas Trees


List of Figures

List of Video Vignettes

Related Links



What Will Damage Trees? ] Protecting Trees During Construction ] Tree Decline Symptoms ]

    Protecting Trees- Introduction:

Trees are important to your landscape, but simple actions can damage their health and life-time. The most common damage to trees occurs in three ways:

damage to the roots, 


damage to the stems, and 


damage to the branches. 

Damage to the roots is worst, because it affects the whole tree. 

(Figure 9-1) How a Tree Grows. 

Note the lower diagram shows actual healthy root growth and spread.


From Working with Builders to Save Trees, Dennis Ryan et al.,2002

Most people do not know that the root zone of a tree is the area under the branches to the drip-line plus the area farther out about one-and-a-half to two times the distance of the drip-line (Ryan, et al., 2002).

Other experts indicate root spread may extend as far as two to three times the distance of the drip line (Appleton et al., 2000).

From Making Tree Roots Visible, Part 1-3, Used with permission of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, (Appleton et al., 2000). (Figure 9-2) Example of Mature Root Growth & Spread.

Roots grow all year long, and require air to survive. For example, roots do not grow deep into the soil in middle Tennessee, because air cannot penetrate much more that a foot or so deep in our clay soils.

(Figure 9-3) Roots Growing at Shallow Depths in Clay Soils. Used with permission of Tennessee Tech University, (Photo courtesy of D. Airhart, 2000).

Purpose    Right Tree / Right Place    Selecting Trees    Transplanting Trees    Mulching & Staking    Summary Diagram     Pruning Trees    Topping Hurts!      Protecting Trees     Tree Root Myths     Pine Bark Beetles     Live Christmas Trees     Glossary     List of Figures    List of Video Vignettes    Related Links     Bibliography is maintained by: Douglas Airhart, Ph.D. Certified Arborist & Jeff Plant, Ph.D, Last Updated on: 07/11/03