Ask Jim: “Are Silva Cells limited in their soil volume?”

Ask Jim!Here is this week’s “Ask Jim Urban” column. Jim Urban, FASLA is an expert on urban trees and soils and his recent book, Up By Roots, is the industry bible on these topics. Jim was also involved in the development and design of the Silva Cell system. In this column, which we’ll be running once a week through the end of March and on a case-by-case basis after that, Jim will answer some of the most common questions he hears about Silva Cells. If you have a question you’d like Jim to answer, please email us at Here’s Jim.

Are Silva Cells limited in their soil volume?

The limitation is the space available to install the system, not the system choice. Silva Cells are about 92% void space, all of which is available for soil, and can be used throughout the available excavation area.

One of the driving forces behind the development of Silva Cells was the limitation on the amount of soil volume that other suspended pavement ideas could sustain. Silva Cells can create unlimited amounts of soil volume if the space is unlimited. What they are very good at is taking advantage of limited space with their highly efficient use of that space. Silva Cells gives you the greatest amount of soil volume in a given space.

James Urban, FASLA
Urban Trees + Soils

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