April 2009

img_0005This tree has been severely stressed by these construction methods.Will it survive even three more years?

While healthy, mature trees add to property value, a dying or dead tree out front can, in fact, reduce your property’s value. If this tree dies, the owners will lose the shade on their home and increase the amount of energy needed to cool it in the summer.

Low Impact Development (LID) would protect a tree from vehicles and equipment that compact the soil and crush the life support from the tree. Half of a tree is underground and needs water and aerobic infiltration to keep the roots working well.


Do the neighbouring homeowners realize their tree may be severely impacted by their new neighbour’s vehicles and supplies being stored within the drip-line of their tree?

The cement truck is crushing air from the soil. This starves the aerobic life underground that supports the health of the tree. Rain will run off as it cannot infiltrate compacted soil. Poor construction protective practices such as seen here in this picture can cause the tree to have a difficult time coping with the compaction to the feeder roots that supply the tree with water, oxygen and nutrients and can severly compromise the tree’s health and chances for survival.

The picture below was taken one month later. It’s the same tree.

tree with truck

Owners need to contract for LID (low impact development).

Guelph needs a by-law to protect trees within their drip-line.

Thousands of new homes will be built in Guelph in the next few years as a result of Places to Grow requirements.

Check out these links on Tree Root Systems and how they are impacted by various activities around them:


When cities, developers or property owners decide to repair, build or extend the structures and infrastructures on their land, they should implement Low Impact Development strategies.

Low Impact Development reduces the stress on existing trees by safeguarding their root systems.

A tree’s root system is roughly the circumference of the tree’s canopy or “dripline”.

Strategies to protect the tree’s root system include not digging within the “dripline”, choosing to store heavy building materials or machinery outside of the tree’s “dripline” and parking vehicles outside of the “dripline”.

Without these strategies, a tree’s health will be compromised so that the tree could be lost entirely within two to three years.

Low Impact Development will:

  • save trees when possible
  • protect inside the dripline
  • avoid parking on top of roots
  • avoid storage on top of roots
  • avoid mass grading
  • Benefits to homeowners and city dwellers of saving trees through Low Impact Development include:
  • reducing energy costs of a/c
  • reducing stormwater runoff
  • increasing groundwater recharge
  • increasing air quality
  • maintaining habitat for birds and pollinators
  • reducing the ‘heat island’ effect
  • reducing heating costs
  • enhancing livability of area
  • increasing property value  by 10 to 23%  !!!

Low Impact Development (LID) refers to a highly effective series of ideas that emphasizes retaining the natural features of a site and reduces the negative impacts of development. It advocates minimizing unnecessary mass grading and soil compaction. It provides real benefits to the homeowners and preserves the value of their investment. LID also reduces environmental costs and infrastructure costs.

LID results in stormwater management, thereby reducing water in basements and maintaining a healthy water table around property.

LID costs less than conventional stormwater management systems. Trees reduce soil surface runoff by infiltrating rainfall to groundwater. They also enhance evaporation of rainwater back to the atmosphere after a storm. Therefore, there is reduced chance of flooding and pollution damage.

Protected, integrated green spaces provides benefits!

1. Improved air quality

2. Increase in property value.

3. Improved pollinator and bird habitat

4. Improved livability and aesthetics of a community

5. Reduced greenhouse gases and heat island effect

6. Reduced smog and particulate damage

7. Reduced energy costs for air conditioning and heating

8. Improved wetlands, green corridors and wildlife habitat