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Trail_Marker_Tree_located_on_the_border_of_Mettawa_and_West_Lake_Forest,_IL - lead image

The History of Marker Trees

We are all searching for signs in our lives. Which way do I go on this highway? Where should I live? Where should I work? We take internet quizzes to tell us what career we should have and what kind of dog we would be and in what country we were meant to live. We look... More
Imported soil lead image_US.10.041 Lincoln Park

Search for the “Perfect” Soil Specification

Imported soil specifications have evolved over the last 30 years to become quite specific about products. Frequently, they appear to be iron-clad descriptions of the most optimum soil; many specification writers would like us to think that even minor deviations from these documents will result in horticultural disasters. But “standard” specifications are not one-size-fits-all. Many... More
Trees at UNC Bell Tower

3 Ways to Sustain Nature in the Built Environment

Urbanization is occurring rapidly – not just in the United States, but globally – and squeezing people, transit, and housing into denser and denser areas. This shift isn’t just about buildings and roads, of course, it also affects it affects the way we plan, integrate, and care for urban nature. Given that trees and plants... More
Rodney Square, Delaware

1 Million Trees: Vision or Nightmare?

In 1982, I was in China studying landscape architecture and architecture at the University of Nanjing. The central Chinese government had recently announced they would recommit to a nationwide multi-billion tree planting program, originally initiated in 1978. By then the Cultural Revolution was over, Mao Zedong was dead, the Gang of 4 had been jailed, and... More
David McSpadden - Central Park Mall

The Changing “Primal Landscape”

Everyone, regardless of where they grew up, has a “primal landscape.” This term was coined by Don Gayton, a writer from British Columbia, Canada, and it refers to the landscape a person most identifies with. At some point in every person’s life they bond with a landscape, whether it’s the forest where they grew up, or... More
Arbuscular Mycorrhizae_Roo Vandergrift

Does cold weather impact the water quality benefits of soil?

There is extensive evidence that soil is an amazing tool for improving the quality of water runoff, for reducing peak flow volume, and for storing water for use by the tree and for groundwater recharge in urban settings. We also know that trees in soil are basically “added capacity” – that is, while the soil... More
NYC Street Tree_Angie Moon

Why Trees May Fail to Establish or Thrive (and what to do about it)

Landscape architects, architects, and engineers have many tools available to them in the design of healthy long-lived trees, and no single one of them can guarantee the establishment or long-term success of the trees. These tools need to be applied within a larger understanding of general principles of arboriculture, soil, and urban conditions in order... More
Photo 1

Buried Treasure: Conserving Urban Soil in Place

It’s not unusual to find a piece of art or jewelry over 500 years old in a museum’s collection. These precious artifacts are (rightly) treated with great care commensurate with their value. Yet an inch of topsoil, which may have taken more than 500 years to develop, is commonly abused, mismanaged or discarded in the... More
Marcin Chady_Salmon Crossing

“Everything We Do Leaves a Footprint”

Nothing epitomizes the spirit of the Pacific Northwest quite like wild Pacific Salmon. If you don’t live in this amazing part of the world, let me explain: Salmon and the clean water and healthy forests they rely on are integral to the quality of life that west coast residents love, cherish, and dream of when... More
Dan Reed_CC BY-NC 2.0

Quantifying Stormwater Benefits of Trees and Soil
Part 2: Single-Event Stormwater Models

Part 1 of this series described quantifying tree and soil stormwater benefits for tree benefit calculators and for stormwater credits. Today we’ll be going more in depth on single event stormwater models. This will simply be an introduction to various methods to quantify the stormwater benefits of tree stormwater control measures (Tree SCMs) and is... More