Use of Trees as Bench Marks in Expansive Clays

by Robert C. Davis, (A.M.ASCE), Soils Engr.; Trinity Engrg. Testing Corp., Austin, TX,
Richard L. Tucker, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Dean of Engrg.; Univ. of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX,

Serial Information: Journal of the Surveying and Mapping Division, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 1, Pg. 149-151

Document Type: Journal Paper


The use of fire hydrants, utility poles, and trees as temporary or permanent bench marks for construction control is well established in surveying practice. Recent observations of trees growing in an area of expansive clay indicate that trees and other shallow landmarks may not be acceptable as bench marks for long-term survey control. This note presents the results of observations performed on four Post Oak trees and one shallow concrete monument over an approximate 6-month (fall-to-winter-to-spring). Resulting vertical movements observed are presented. Further investigation of the magnitude of movements during a hot, dry summer period appear necessary to fully define the possible magnitude of annual movements.

Subject Headings: Trees | Benchmark | Clays | Expansive soils | Power transmission poles | Fires | Construction management | Soil analysis

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