Protecting Big Trees
Big trees in suburban and urban areas face a number of threats. Click a panel to learn how you can help protect big trees.
Big trees often stand high above the surrounding landscape, increasing their exposure to wind, ice, and lightning strike. Also, some big trees develop growth defects and decay, making them more vulnerable to storm damage. Preventing storm damage is key because big trees often cannot recover from severe damage. A certified arborist has the knowledge and skills to evaluate storm threats and recommend preventive treatments such as pruning, cabling and bracing, and lightning protection systems. You can search for a certified arborist in your area by clicking here.
Big trees occupy a lot of space, both above and below ground, putting them at risk of injury from construction and soil disturbance. Trunks and branches damaged by machinery are vulnerable to insect infestation and decay. When roots are run over repeatedly by vehicles or cut by excavators, the tree can become unhealthy or even uproot. Avoiding tree damage during construction is key because big trees often cannot recover from severe damage. A certified arborist has the knowledge and skills to evaluate threats from construction and recommend preventive treatments such as mulching, root pruning, and retaining walls. You can search for a certified arborist in your area by clicking here.
Virginia is a rapidly urbanizing state. Infill development and urban expansion often threaten big trees. The best strategy to protect big trees from development is awareness and education. People will protect and preserve what they value. Simply letting people know that the tree is among the biggest of its kind in the state or in the country is an important first step. Next, explain the numerous benefits that trees provide to the individual, to the community, and to the environment. You can even quantify the benefits of an individual tree. Sometimes legal protections are needed for big trees. In Virginia, there is state legislation that enables localities to pass an ordinance to protect specially designated trees. Model ordinances adopted by Virginia localities can be found on the Virginia Tree Ordinance Database.