Spring is the time when many construction projects begin around the house and yard. If the job includes a change in grade near a tree, take care or you might kill the tree.

Changing the soil level around an established tree causes stress which might be fatal. Removing soil from the vicinity of the tree will destroy many of the feeder roots vital to the health of the tree. It could also eliminate some of the anchoring roots and make the tree vulnerable to wind damage.

Some species of trees are more easily damaged by changes in the grade of the soil in their root zone that involves adding soil on top of the ground so that the roots are deeper than desired by the plant.

Susceptibility of some trees to injury from grade changes:
MOST SUSCEPTIBLE
Acer saccharinum Sugar maple
Cornus Dogwood
Fagus Beech
Liriodendron Tulip tree
Picea Spruce
Pinus Pine
Quercus Oak
MODERATELY SUSCEPTIBLE
Betula Birch
Carya Hickory
Tsuga Hemlock
LEAST SUSCEPTIBLE
Platanus Planetree or Sycamore
Populus Poplar
Quercus pulustris Pin oak
Robinia Locust
Salix Willow
Ulmus Elm
   

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.

 

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