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Compendium of Best Urban Forest Management Practices

Chapter 11. Hard Surface Planting


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One of the most persistent challenges in urban forestry is the ongoing battle between tree roots and pavement. Trees planted close to hard surfaces such as pavement, asphalt, concrete, etc. often suffer from soil volume restriction that leads to root damage and girdling as well as pavement lifting, creating safety hazards for pedestrians. Management practices include planting appropriate tree species, installing covers or grates over planting pits that accommodate tree growth; planting ground covers around tree trunks to reduce foot traffic and compaction; using an appropriate soil medium to encourage deep, tree root growth, constructing continuous channels that connect individual planting pits; and planning for and providing adequate irrigation. A variety of methods have been developed and implemented to increase tree survival in hard surfaces by using the best possible planting method for a given site.

Online documents (.PDF or .DOC)

Tree cover, impervious surfaces, and riparian buffer analyses in the mid-Atlantic region
Mapping Impervious Surfaces and Forest Canopy Using CART Analysis Tree Planting 
Structural Soils: A New Medium to Allow Urban Trees to Grow in Pavement

Non-Canadian sites & resources

Trees for Parking Lots and Paved Areas, Virginia Polytechnic University
Deep Root Products, USA
Structural Soils, Urban Horticulture Institute, Cornell University
Forest Cover, Impervious Surface Area and the Mitigation of Urbanization Impacts
References for Structural Soil, Cornell University (.PDF)

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