Can Your Neighbor’s Construction Damage or Kill Your Trees? Yes.
August 30, 2018
One thing that never seems to stop in Texas? Construction. Construction around your home can cause headaches for you, but it can also hurt your trees. The legalities surrounding your trees, your neighbors, and construction can get complicated. We’ll break it down here for you:
We’ve already discussed who is responsible for trees near property lines, but what happens when your neighbor wants to put in a pool & they cut your tree roots in the process? As we all know, roots do not stop at the property line. In fact, sometimes your large trees have such an extensive root system, they can extend into the yard two houses down! Therefore, any construction or soil disruption in your neighbor’s yard can significantly damage your tree.
Construction damage isn’t limited to root-cutting from excavation or trenching alone. Other types of construction related tree injuries we see include:
- Soil compaction: It occurs when heavy construction vehicles repeatedly drive over the same area around a tree. Soil compaction negatively impacts aeration and water penetration, limiting healthy root growth.
- Trees are also injured by accidental injury to the trunk and crown. If the cambium layer is wounded by equipment, water and nutrient uptake are limited, causing overall tree decline.
- Construction crews have a tendency to pile soil and construction debris at the base of trees, not realizing this can girdle the tree, as well as cause severe soil compaction, causing fast or long-term decline.
Talk to your neighbors to see if you can work out a tree protection plan together before the work begins.
Once your tree has been injured or killed by a neighbor’s construction damage, you do have legal options. While laws do vary in each state, your neighbor may be responsible for:
The cost of removing or replacing the damaged tree
Covering the decrease in property value due to tree loss
Any out-of-pocket expenses you incur appraising or trying to save an injured tree
If you are concerned about the health of your trees due to a construction project next door, it’s best to retain a registered consulting arborist before the construction starts. They can make recommendations and establish a tree-protection plan in advance to reduce the overall impact of the construction. Also, we determine and mark a root zone perimeter to ensure no heavy equipment traffic or construction occurs within the zone.
If you think your trees have already been damaged by neighboring construction, our Consulting Arborists can assess and appraise the monetary value of your trees along with provide expert witness, should your case escalate to that level.
Remember, established trees make up a significant portion of your overall property value!