Marshall Tree Farm

Relative Tolerance of Tree Species to Construction Damage

Kim D. Coder

Professor, Silvics/Ecology
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

August, 1996

Each tree species, and each unique individual, will respond to the stress and strain of construction activities in different ways. Some species vary widely in their response to mechanical injury, pest attack, soil modifications, and micro-climatic changes associated with construction. As more tree tissues, physical space and essential resources are disrupted, the more a tree must effectively react to these changes to insure survival.

The variability of general tree reactions to construction damage represents a range of tolerances. Some trees tolerate damage well — others tolerate damage poorly. The relative tolerance differences between native species are given in this table as are the primary limiting factors. This list represents only broad expectations of tree reactions and cannot show specific reactions to specific sites changes and circumstances. It is assumed each species is being evaluated within their home range.

The key to symbols in the third column of this table, entitled “tolerance” are the relative value of “g” for good, “m” for medium, and “p” for poor. These are broad recognitions of species’ reactions to activities around construction sites within one-and-one-half times the drip line distance from the tree. For example, a poor tolerance rating signifies a tree which will have difficulty reacting well to construction damage.

The forth column of this table, entitled “limitations,” symbolizes critical constraints governing species tolerances on construction sites. The key to symbols of poor tree reactions includes: physical injury (compartmentalization and decay) “I”; pest complications (chronic and acute attacks) “P”; soil constraints (aeration and water availability attributes) “S”; limited climatic tolerances (native range, hardiness, and micro-climatic change) “C”; and, all of these reactions combined “A.”

Scientific NameCommon NameToleranceLimitations
Acer barbatumFlorida maplemIS
Acer leucodermechalk maplepA
Acer negundoboxeldergIC
Acer saccharinumsilver maplepA
Acer spicatummountain maplemIC
Aesculus octandrayellow buckeyepIS
Aesculus paviared buckeyemI
Amelanchier arboreadowny serviceberrymIS
Aralia spinosadevil’s walking stickmI
Betula allegheniansisyellow birchmISC
Betula lentasweet birchmIC
Bumelia lanuginosagum bumeliamA
Bumelia lycioidesbuckthorn bumeliamA
Carpinus carolinianaAmerican hornbeammSC
Carya cordiformisbitternut hickorypS
Carya glabrapignut hickorymS
Carya ovatashagbark hickorypS
Carya tomentosamockernut hickorympS
Castanea alnifoliaFlorida chinkapinmP
Castanea pumilaAllegheny chinkapinpP
Celtis laevigatasugarberrygI
Celtis tenuifoliaGeorgia hackberrymIS
Cephalanthus occidentaliscommon buttonbushgI
Cercis canadensisredbudmS
Chionanthus virginicusfringetreemIS
Cladrastis kentukeayellowwoodpA
Clethra acuminatacinnamon clethramIS
Cliftonia monophyllabuckwheat treemIS
Cornus alternifoliaalternate-leaf dogwoodmIS
Cornus floridadogwoodmIP
Cornus strictaswamp dogwoodgI
Cyrilla racemifloraswamp cyrillamI
Diospyros virginianapersimmongP
Erythrina herbaceaEastern coralbeanmI
Euonymus atropurpureusEastern wahoomI
Fagus grandifoliaAmerican beechpA
Fraxinus americanawhite ashmIS
Halesia carolinaCarolina silverbellmISC
Halesia dipteratwo-wing silverbellmIS
Halesia parvifloralittle silverbellmIS
Hamamelis virginianawitch-hazelmIS
Ilex montanamountain winterberrygmC
Juglans nigrablack walnutpIS
Juniperus virginianaEastern redcedarmI
Liriodendron tulipiferayellow-poplarpIS
Magnolia acuminatacucumbertreemI
Magnolia fraseriFraser magnoliapIC
Magnolia grandifloraSouthern magnoliamI
Magnolia pyramidatapyramid magnoliapIC
Malus angustifoliaSouthern crabapplemICP
Malus coronariasweet crabapplemICP
Nyssa ogecheOgeechee tupelomIS
Osmanthus americanadevilwoodmI
Ostrya virginianaEastern hophornbeammS
Oxydendrum arboreumsourwoodpA
Pinckneya pubenspinckneyamI
Pinus echinatashortleaf pinegmP
Pinus palustrislongleaf pinegmC
Pinus pungenstable-mountain pinegmC
Pinus strobusEastern white pinemA
Prunus americanaAmerican plummIS
Prunus angustifoliachickasaw plummIS
Prunus pensylvanicafire cherrymI
Prunus serotinablack cherrymI
Prunus umbellataflatwoods plummI
Ptelea trifoliatahoptreemI
Quercus albawhite oakgmS
Quercus phelloswillow oakgmS
Quercus prinuschestnut oakgmS
Quercus rubraNorthern red oakgmSC
Quercus virginianalive oakgmC
Rhamnus carolinianaCarolina buckthornmIS
Rhododendron catawbiensecatawba rhododendronmI
Rhododendron maximumrosebay rhododendronmI
Rhus coppalinashining sumacmI
Rhus glabrasmooth sumacmI
Robinia pseudoacaciablack locustgP
Sambucus canadensisAmerican elderpA
Styrax americanaAmerican snowbellmIS
Styrax grandifoliabigleaf snowbellmIS
Symplocos tinctoriacommon sweetleafgI
Tilia carolinianaCarolina basswoodpA
Tilia heterophyllawhite basswoodpA
Toxicodendron vernixpoison sumacmI
Tsuga canadensisEastern hemlockpA
Ulmus americanaAmerican elmmP
Ulmus rubraslippery elmmP
Vaccinium arboreumtree sparkleberrymA
Zanthoxylum clava-herculisHercules-clubmI