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The “Root” to Success

tree roots

Why does considering tree roots in development proposals means a greater chance of a successful development?

When building near trees, there are several factors that can influence the tree roots:

  • Buildings and hard surfaces block water, nutrients and air from reaching roots – roots are less likely to grow beneath these, favouring areas of open ground elsewhere.
  • Changes in ground level can alter roots spreads, making the spread less even where trees grow on or next to banks, ditches and retaining walls.
  • Past excavation may have removed roots in one area, so even if the excavation has been filled-in, root growth may be limited in that direction.
  • Unsuitable soil conditions, due to compaction, pollution and water-logging, can deter root growth or kill existing roots.
  • Water demands and root spreads vary considerably between different species.

Understanding these factors and how they may relate to your site can help to predict where roots will be.  This can benefit the long-term success of your development:

  • Identifying areas of reduced growth may help free up space for development.
  • Identifying areas of increased root growth can help prevent root damage and loss, helping you to retain important trees.
  • By knowing where roots will be you can design new buildings and surfaces to tolerate them, reducing the potential for roots to cause direct damage to surfacing, or indirect damage (subsidence) to buildings.

An arboricultural survey for development will identify the predicted root spreads, and then provide you with the information you need to consider these in your design.  It will help identify areas to avoid and the means of construction where roots are present.  It can also help identify areas where development is best, free from tree roots.  Having this from the start of your project can help prevent later costly revisions and delays, where tree roots are found to be an issue.

Get in touch

agb Environmental has an in house arboricultural team that can provide advice and support to developers in considering the impact of development on trees, and trees on the development.  Contact Richard Parmee, Principal Consultant, on 01638 663226 or email to discuss your project.  

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