Green Roofs As Certified Wildlife Habitats

There are lots of ecological arguments for creating more green roofs, particularly in urban environments. Until now, though, I had never considered one additional benefit – certifying them as wildlife habitats. I started thinking about this after reading an item on the S.W.I.M. Coalition website about the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) of Grand… More

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Touch the Soil: Healthy Soils for Healthy Trees

Alex Shigo, one of the most famous plant biologists and fathers of arboriculture, is widely credited with making huge improvements to standard industry practices. One of his famous sayings was an exhortation to “touch trees.” I’ve adapted this to my own related specialty, urban trees and soils, which is why I often tell landscape architects and other… More

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Green Infrastructure Design Support Services

Here’s one thing we don’t talk about too much on this blog: the Silva Cell has completely changed how we do business. It used to be simple – we would supply our products to local distributors for resale. With the Silva Cell, however, the model is not so straightforward.

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Frenemies: Landscape Architects & Engineers

Back in Fall 2011, the Ontario Association of Landscape Architect’s publication, Ground Magazine (page 8), published an article titled “Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Landscape Architects and Engineers,” by Adam Nicklin and Victoria Taylor. This article started an insightful discussion on the similarities and differences between landscape architects and engineers. Some of the essential differences they point out are:

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The Uncertain Fate of a Better Market Street

A couple of years ago, I wrote hopefully about the City of San Francisco’s plans to revamp our main thoroughfare, Market Street. The project, which began in 2009 and planned to improve transit, pedestrian spaces, and business opportunities, represented a tremendous opportunity for Market Street to meet the grandness of its proportions. I hoped for… More

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A Tree Needs Pruning Like a Fish Needs A Bicycle

What do trees really need? Sunlight, surely. Water, and nutrients from the soil. But do they need pruning? Some trees are said to be self-pruning, shedding dead limbs or even overly heavy live limbs. Trees and plants have evolved for millennia without our intervention. 

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“Size Expectations for Urban Trees with Regard to Designed Space”

Earlier this year, I wrote about a study by Dr. Jessica Sanders, Director of Technical Services and Research at Casey Trees, that concluded that “apparent available soil” was a good predictor of ultimate tree size. Now, Dr. Sanders and two co-authors, Jason Grabosky and Paul Cowie, have published a complete version of their study in the… More

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Should Georgia’s Highways Be Free of Trees?

My generation, the millennials, has been described as politically apathetic many times and by many people. I’m not sure it’s an entirely fair characterization, but I do relate to a feeling of powerlessness when it comes to influencing policies and other types of fundamental changes. When I was a kid, my parents and teachers would… More

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