Friday, July 4, 2008

Tree Preservation, Part 2

I've been thinking more about that old maple tree and whether we should replace it or try to save it. For the required canopy coverage, we probably need that tree to have enough points. (Although replanting new trees will get us points too.) However, we will have to dig a trench from the front of the lot to the house in order to bring the utilities from the street to the house. Given the location of the electricity connection at the street, that means the trench must pass right through the maple tree. Trenching around the tree surely will harm its root system. And given the age of the tree, the roots certainly are across the entire 40' width of our lot. So anywhere we trench will damage the roots, right?

While the "greenest" option might be saving the tree, cutting the tree down and using the wood in some way on the property and planting a new tree in that spot also would be green. It's not an easy decision to take a life. Stay tuned.

Tree Preservation

Like us, the City of Falls Church is progressive and environmentally conscious. As part of the building permit process, we have to submit a tree preservation plan. Yesterday morning, I met with the city arborist, who is a great guy and extremely helpful, and the company that's developing the plan for us. All of the trees on the property have suffered from years of neglect. When building green, it's ideal to save as many mature trees as possible. We also want to ensure the trees are appropriate for our region and non-invasive. Some trees are so badly damaged that they'll need to be removed. We'll replant with appropriate new trees.

One of the biggest decisions, though, is what to do with an old, red maple tree that's at the very front of the lot. As you can see in this photo take late last Autumn, the tree has some storm damage and vines growing throughout the entire tree (English Ivy and poison ivy).

It will cost $$ and significant effort to protect the tree from construction activity and bring it back to a beautiful state. But there's always a chance the tree won't survive construction -- ours or the inevitable next-door construction after someone buys that old, dilapidated, white farmhouse and tears it down to build a new home.

We're fairly certain we're going to work to save this tree and clean it up, rather than cutting it down and planting a new one. Any and all thoughts are welcome
, though.

First Blog, First Post

Hi. Over the next several months, I hope you will enjoy following my journey as I blog about the construction of our new, home in the City of Falls Church, Virginia. I'll share what we're learning about building an environmentally-friendly house and invite your feedback throughout the process.

This blog was created the week we applied for our building permit, which is about 9 months into the process for us. Between postings about the construction, I'll insert retrospective blurbs from the previous 9 months to more fully share the joys (and pains) of planning to construct a new home.