Great way to kill a tree!

Southern Trillium LLC
by Southern Trillium LLC
While measuring a yard this morning, I watched a landscaping crew begin work across the street on an installation. First I noticed no utility markings on the ground showing the gas line or any other buried lines. I was concerned when I saw the trencher dropped on the ground. Then I watched them hook up the large tiller and begin tilling towards the large maple in the yard. They circled the entire tree with the tiller. I watched as it ripped roots out of the ground, and the machine bounced as it hit roots too large to break. In the 2nd photo, you can still see one roots sticking up out of the ground. I had my phone in my hand while I took photos of the yard I will be designing, and I took these 2 photos while they were not watching.
I just hope they did not hit any buried utilities since they did not have anything marked. I know they were going to trench, because just as I was getting in my truck, the owner of the company stepped over and spoke to me and he told me what all they were going to be putting in the yard, including an irrigation system.
This house is located in Decatur, Georgia, which has an extensive Tree Protection Ordinance. What this crew did is in direct violation of the ordinance, as they destroyed the critical root zone. Any tree over 8" in diameter at breast height is considered a Significant Tree and must be protected. Unfortunately, it is too late now to do anything about it and the tree may die within a few years due to the damage.
I am pointing this out to all homeowners so that they know what to look for and discuss with their contractors as they do work. There are plenty of great companies, contractors, and individuals that know the proper practices, but there are also plenty that do not know. Unfortunately, it is sometimes hard for homeowners to be able to figure out which one they are dealing with.
Here is a link to Decatur's Tree Ordinance
The crew running the tiller right around the large maple tree.
After they finished circling the tree with the tiller.
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
Join the conversation
2 of 16 comments
  • DORLIS DORLIS on Jun 11, 2015
    One thing I have learned over the years, is ask questions before you sign anything. Often people say they know plants when they don't and after the damage is done, they usually will not accept the responsibility for the damage. I would rather aggrevate them with questions than have to deal with the consequences.

  • Peter Peter on Dec 20, 2017
    My next door neighbor bought a new house after the builder cut 3/4 of the roots to an oak. 2 years later it was removed.
    Another neighbor 'pruned' the crown of 2 maples ... almost all branches from the trunk were removed, leaving a tight vase shape... totally unnatural! 3 years later they were removed.
    My insurance company (!) wanted me to remove oak trees near my hous because they wer overhanging the roof. Yes, they spread 40 feet ... they're 20-25 feet from the hous, OF COURSE they'll "overhang the roof"! I refused, showing they get thinned every 6-8 years, and I WILL NOT remove any of my 16 Centurions because of a vendor... I'd rather quit paying them!