Vancouver urban trees

Compendium of Best Urban Forest Management Practices

Chapter 14. Abiotic Stresses of Urban Forests

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Trees planted in the urban environment are often unable to reach their full genetic potential due to unfavourable conditions. Common stresses include soil compaction, salt and air pollution, mechanical injuries and drought. Other environmental stresses include shading and competition for water and nutrients, and artificial light sources (street lamps). A consistent issue in most cities is compaction and the lack of soil volume in sidewalk plantings. Soil compaction in high traffic areas impedes on the root system performing its physiological functions of absorbing water and minerals. Although trees adapt to their environment by adjusting their growth patterns, tactics to promote and improve tree health, such as raising the root ball, spreading a layer of mulch and implementing a watering schedule to suit drainage conditions can greatly increase tree survival. There are a number of techniques and products available to city foresters to assist them in planting in these harsh and unnatural locations.


Understanding and Dealing with Interactions Between Trees, Sensitive Clay Soils and Foundations
Forest and Shade Tree Pathology

Online documents (.PDF or .DOC)

Synthesis of Best Practices Road Salt Management
Drought Stress Problems in Edmonton’s Forest, City of Edmonton

Non-Canadian sites & resources

Lawnmower Blight, Penn State
Leaf Scorch of Trees & Shrubs

Bibliographical Resources:

Costello, L., Perry, E., Matheny, N., Henry, M., Geisel, P. (2003). Abiotic Disorders. International Society of Arboriculture. Champaign, IL. 242 pp


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