5 sustainable solutions to avoid cutting down trees in the environment

Homeowners remove trees for many reasons, but there are often better solutions: You can actually plant your tree and keep it, too. And yet, urban tree cover is declining across the United States, and new development projects don’t account for all the tree loss they create.

Trees provide aesthetic, social, environmental and even economic benefits. Tree houses sell faster and at higher prices. You don’t have to be part of the problem, consider these alternatives to cutting down trees Tree Care Experts.

Most tree problems are caused by planting a tree too close to a structure or by planting the wrong species for the site. The Right Tree Right Place guide can help you avoid choosing a tree that will interfere with utilities, cause damage to your home, or create hazards.

get an arborist
If you already have a tree that is causing problems, a skilled arborist can solve many tree problems without resorting to tree removal. Even when it is the best option, tree removal and pruning large branches are jobs best left to professionals.

DIY tree felling can be dangerous. And inexperienced pruning is often the root cause (pardon the pun) of problems that will lead to tree removal in the future. An arborist will also know if her community requires permits to work with trees. But be careful, anyone with a pickup truck and a chainsaw can call themselves an arborist. To ensure your job is done right, look for an arborist who is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

Dealing with the roots of the problem
Root problems cause pipe failures less often than people think. Changes in soil due to compaction or freeze-thaw cycles create cracks in pipes, usually at joints. Roots grow into existing breaks, where nutrients and moisture are abundant. But once the roots successfully invade the inside of the pipe, they can fill it completely. Tree removal does not always solve this problem, as cracks remain and the remaining stump or roots may continue to grow.

Pipe replacement is the best long-lasting solution, but homeowners often choose to manage the problem through maintenance. Routine administration of chemical treatments can keep roots out of pipes. Consider using copper sulfate crystals, which are safer than aquatic herbicides. For an even greener option, blocked sewers can be cleaned mechanically to prevent damage. It is best to do this maintenance annually.

The presence of tree roots in a crack in the foundation is circumstantial evidence that the tree caused the problem. But the roots are rarely the cause of the crack or even strong enough to make it larger. In some cases, soil type, tree species, and the proximity of the tree to the home may require the installation of a root barrier in the foundation.

When trees are planted too close to sidewalks or when the soil is heavily compacted, tree roots can interfere with nearby pavement, causing cracks and lifting concrete to create hazards. Sometimes problem roots can be resolved by pruning. But root pruning can damage the health of the tree and risks destabilizing it. Raising or moving pavement or installing root barriers is often more effective.

Dismantle hazard trees
Falling branches and toppling trees typically occur during extreme weather conditions, such as high winds, snow, or ice storms, or when the ground is oversaturated due to heavy rain. While some tree species drop branches more easily than others, most trees can withstand regular bad weather.

Arborists can identify which trees pose a hazard. For a tree to be dangerous, it must be defective and located where it can become a target. Trees that have suffered extensive root damage, for example due to construction, are less stable and more likely to fall during winter or other extreme weather conditions. Other risk factors include dead branches, decay and rot, poor branching structure (which is often the result of poor pruning), or being suffocated by vines.

Many risks can be managed by pruning bad branches or simply moving the target so branches can fall harmlessly. Even trees that are at risk of falling can often be restored to health with proper maintenance or secured with techniques such as wiring and bracing.

Opening blocked views?
One of the most common reasons for cutting down a tree is that it blocks the view. But the trees are the view. Surgery patients who can see trees from their hospital beds actually recover faster, and major research confirms that exposure to trees improves human health and happiness.

At a minimum, consider the trees as the frame of the view. A row of pollarded trees makes an ugly setting, as do roofs and driveways exposed by tree removal. Instead, consider expert pruning techniques such as windowing, banding or edging that create views without destroying the trees. These approaches will maximize the desired view while obscuring unpleasant foreground details and maintaining the benefits of healthy trees.

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