Soil compaction can have a devastating impact on tree health. When soil is compacted, soil oxygen (which is critical to tree health) is removed making it difficult for roots to grow and survive. Soil compaction can also change water infiltration patterns and soil structure. The best way to treat soil compaction is to prevention.
Symptoms of soil compaction often show up 2-5 years after the actual damage. Symptoms may include small leaf size, stunted growth, thinning crown, dying crown, tip dieback (see picture above), or even death.
It is vital to protect the Critical Root Zone of a tree when construction or other activities occur. For every 1 inch of tree diameter, 1.5 feet (radius) of root zone must be protected. For example, a 20 inch oak tree must have 30 feet of roots protected in every direction.