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Drive along the residential streets of Westchester or Fairfield county and you are bound to see  cement trucks, excavators and cranes hard at work expanding homes and making them more livable for todays’ families. If you are lucky enough to be planning a home renovation, then you are also aware that the list of “to-do’s” is literally endless. Permits, inspections, architects, plan revisions and don’t forget, picking out every last finish.  What may start out feeling fun and exciting, can quickly turn daunting.

However, we are not here to overwhelm you, rather, we’d like to take a moment and point out one important piece that very often gets overlooked, Tree Preservation.  When deciding to undertake a renovation project the main motive is normally to ‘Add Value’, then why is it so easy to forget about the irreplaceable value a mature tree adds to your landscape? Did you know that mature trees carry a value of up to $10,000 each! But it’s not even about the dollar amount; they provide shade, privacy, better air quality, and protection from storms, making them a priceless addition to any home’s landscape.

You might be wondering: How can a tree 10 feet from my house be impacted by construction? Well it’s not about those parts of the tree you can see and admire, the trunk and the crown, it’s what lies beneath, the roots.  The very ends of a tree’s roots, known as the Critical Root Zone, are the most important aspect of a tree’s vitality.  The Critical Root Zone is identified by tracing a circle on the ground that mirrors the edge of the tree’s crown (See diagram below). Depending on the size of the tree, the Critical Root Zone can be anywhere from 5 to 30 feet away from the base of the trunk.  We bet you probably didn’t realize that… And can also bet that most construction contractors don’t know that either.


So now imagine this precious circle around the base of your tree, and how the weight of excavators, fork lifts and pallets can compact the soil and prevent water, air and nutrients from getting to the primary feeding zone of your tree. Or that construction debris and potentially harmful chemicals may be compromising the soil surrounding the critical root zone.  AH! Scary! The risk is real.

Here at Emerald Tree and Shrub Care, we are experts in preserving mature trees from a number of hazards, including, construction. The key is, enlisting our services before your project starts. Below are the steps we take to ensure your trees remain strong and healthy through the entire building process:

  • Partner with the building company early on. Determine the timeline, scope of the project and areas that will be effected.
  • Have an arborist walk the property and identify the preservation needs for different trees and plants.
  • Perform fertilizations and inoculations on trees and shrubs that need an extra boost of nutrients to handle the additional level of stress.
  • Install an irrigation system, even if it's just temporary plan, to ensure the trees remain properly hydrated.
  • Mark the perimeter of each Critical Root Zone with flags, and then have tree crews install snow fencing as a visual and physical boundary for all workers on the property.
  • Install several inches of wood chips or mulch to protect the Critical Root Zone from contamination during the construction process.
  • Periodically check in at the project site to ensure fencing is not compromised and construction crews are staying clear of critical areas.

If you are planning a construction project and have trees that you would like protected, please call us, this is a service we feel very strongly about and we would love to help! 914-725-0441.


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Steve Farrelly

As a lifelong Westchester resident, Steve Farrelly serves as the founder and President of Emerald Tree and Shrub Care Company. As an avid sportsman who enjoys fishing, swimming and more, he was inspired to start Emerald after witnessing various irresponsible acts taking place throughout the Long Island Sound.

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Emerald's crew was very respectful and professional, and you are always a phone call away! We know where to turn to in the future when we need help with our trees.Marina T.
Committed to the Highest Level of Care

With accreditations by ISA, the Tree Care Industry Association, and an impressive roster of master arborists and ISA-certified tree care professionals, Emerald is the most accredited company of its kind in New York and Connecticut.

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