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The Summer of Tree Reckoning in the Media

A convergence of two connected elements in 2020 and 2021 is causing an outpouring of news stories this summer, covering tree equity and the role and impact of trees as a means to reduce heat impacts in all neighborhoods across America, not just some. The racial inequality and reckoning that the United States experienced in... More

What Trees to Plant in Cities

Species diversity in the urban forest is an extremely important topic and – unlike so many other design choices that are hindered by lengthy planning processes, tightening budgets, and maintenance considerations – it’s something we can actually have an impact on in the short term as part of the ongoing cycle of tree replacement. I’ve... More

What Not To Plant

Something simple and extremely fundamental must underpin any effort to increase the biodiversity of the urban canopy: adequate quantity and quality soil and water. That’s it. If a guy wanted to grow a great tree in a typical 4 x 4 urban tree opening, he could add macronutrients (NPK), micronutrients (Mn, Mg, etc.), compost tea,... More

The High Cost of Urban Monocultures

Tree species diversity is a critical element of ecology sustainability, the most urgent of which is to minimize the impact of pests and disease outbreaks on urban canopy cover. Anyone who has followed the introduction of Dutch Elm disease (DED) is already painfully aware of how devastating tree pest outbreaks can be. Where I live,... More

How “Clean and Simple” Becomes “Dead and Gone”

Picture a schematic drawing for, say, a downtown revitalization project. You’d see bustling businesses, new bike lanes, colorful signs, and rows and rows of identical trees. As an arborist, horticulturist, and landscape architect I’ve given a great deal of thought to plant diversity over my career, and this practice of only planting a single species is... More

Silva Cell Trees Reach New Height at Highgate: Tysons, VA

– What was once a suburban office complex and parking lot in Tysons, Virginia, is now home to a luxury apartment building and landscaped space. – Highgate at the Mile, on Jones Branch Drive, has 350-plus units and 35 lush trees along its perimeter. – Four years after 252 2X Silva Cells were installed in... More

New London Connecticut 25 Thriving Trees: A Silva Cell Case Study

– The coastal town of New London, Connecticut received an upgrade in urban forestry and an increase in tree canopy in 2017. – 25 trees line Eugene O Neil drive, and surround a parking lot in the heart of downtown near transit sites. – The trees are on their way to reaching the full canopy.... More

Silva Cell Trees Have Deep Roots in Plazas

Plazas are integral to cities. They are the pulse of city and township centers. Plazas create a sense of place and identity in communities. The Spanish word plaza translates to square. In today’s urban planning and landscape architecture lexicon, plaza can mean and be several types of landscapes. A plaza can be a marketspace, a... More

Mississauga Celebration Square 10 Years Later: Silva Cell Case Study

– The 37,280 square meters that make up the Mississauga City Hall plaza were transformed in 2011. – The square added 30 trees in raised gardens and by design brought two previously separated areas together. – Ten years later and the Autumn Blaze Maples (Acer × freemanii) have grown exponentially since they were installed. The... More

What is Soil Structure and Why is it Important?

A previous blog entry, Healthy Soils for Healthy Trees, discussed the importance of preserving soil structure from being destroyed by compaction. Together, soil texture and soil structure have the greatest influence on pore space in soil, and how easily air, water, and roots can move through a soil. Many people are aware of what soil... More