Sustainable development should emphasise development which preserves what is already on site particularly plant and other vegetation. The importance of preserving green growth cannot be overstated. Trees are damaged during construction when the roots cannot access vital nutrients and water or if they are cut off or blocked. If you are looking to develop a location with trees on it, installing root guards will ensure that the trees remain undamaged and healthy.
What is a Root Guard?
This is a device that is installed to confine the sub-base and stabilize the ground such that the tree roots can still access air, water and other nutrients. A root guard can be used when constructing;
- Paths and cycle ways
- Permanent wood trails
- Access routes
- Parking areas
Root guards can be installed in applications other than the above. If there is danger of pressure loads on the ground damaging tree roots, it is ideal to install root guards. This is on ground that will bear both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
How does it work?
Root guards protect tree roots by spreading force from the ground laterally instead of downwards, preventing compaction of the soil and undue damaging pressure on tree roots. They come in honeycomb like panels which are filled with porous material. The cell honeycomb structures prevent the infill from spreading downwards under pressure loads from above. The root guards prevent rutting of the ground which can cut off tree roots. They are designed to let in air and water through ensuring the tree remains healthy.
The benefits of protecting trees while developing are numerous.
- Law/regulations – Protecting trees and animals is a requirement in law in many areas. In fact, many authorities will demand to see a plan for protecting plant and animals on site.
- Protected species – Some tree species are protected even on areas that demand for development is high.
- Natural beauty – Natural greenery is attractive to the year in the middle of concrete jungles.
- Shelter – trees are habitats to thousands of insect species and bird species. Every tree is a whole ecosystem with unique life patterns. The sound of singing birds is welcome in both residential and commercial areas.
- Shade – Trees have shade very ideal for taking a rest from the sun for both man and animals.
Development and preserving the environment should not be mutually exclusive. Protecting trees and other useful vegetation is a duty for every developer. Root damage can be avoided by using root guards which prevent compaction and rutting which is damaging to tree roots.