a tractor in the sunshine near some beautiful edmonton trees

Protecting Trees On Construction Sites in Edmonton

Are you about to undertake a construction project near your home?

Then it’s your responsibility to ensure that all trees on public property are protected. How is this done? Keep reading to get the information you need in order to protect city trees and avoid fines. 

How do construction projects harm trees?

Construction projects can negatively impact trees in various ways, including the following:

  • Roots being crushed by heavy equipment
  • Snapped branches
  • Excavated roots
  • Grade changes (affecting drainage)
  • Excess water build-up around trunk

Root damage reduces water and nutrient uptake and compromises stability. Broken branches and scraped trunks are susceptible to disease and infestation.

What are the rules surrounding tree protection?

All trees on public property within five metres from the edge of a construction site require protection. A tree protection zone must be staked out and fenced off with an orange barrier fence or metal chain link fence. Access to the zone must be restricted and you can’t store materials or dump waste in the area.

The size of the zone is determined by the trunk diameter. For example, for a trunk diameter of 10 centimetres and under, there must be 1.2 metres of clearance between the trunk and the fence. For a trunk diameter of 81 centimetres or over, 5 metres of clearance is required. For the intermediate values, consult the Tree Protection Zone Calculation Table in the City of Edmonton’s Tree Protection Plans Details document.

This document contains other relevant information concerning the structure and placement of the fence and the rules surrounding the tree protection zone. For more extensive information and for links to further documents, visit the Trees and Construction page on the City of Edmonton website.

What are the penalties you can incur?

As the City of Edmonton states on its website, “trees are a valuable city asset.” Construction companies are charged for any damage they cause to a city tree. Sometimes, damaged trees need to be removed, in which case the company pays both the cost of removal and the tree’s asset value. This could amount to upwards of $30,000.

What if a tree on public property has low-hanging branches in the way?

You’re responsible for protecting not only the tree’s trunk, structural roots and feeder roots but also its canopy. If there are low-hanging branches that could be damaged on construction sites near city-owned trees, contact the City of Edmonton and arrangements can be made to prune the trees. Call 311 (or 780-442-5311 if you’re outside Edmonton) or email 311@edmonton.ca.

What about trees on private property?

It’s recommended that homeowner’s protect trees on their private property, but it isn’t legally required. To protect your trees from construction work, follow the same guidelines discussed above.

If you require tree removal or pruning before construction, hire a professional arborist from All Season Tree Service to do the job quickly and efficiently! We service a wide area, including Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Stony Plain and all surrounding areas.

Contact Us for Professional Arborist Services!

If you require tree removal or tree pruning prior to a construction project, reach out to us at All Season Tree Service. For more information, or to schedule a free estimate, contact us today!