Design for Maintenance

Urban environments depend on maintenance. In intensely used urban settings, the concept of low maintenance is not a practical reality. During the design process, landscape architects must identify the source and capability of that maintenance, and be sure that the maintenance team is informed of specialized requirements and system designs to support the success of… More

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For Mulch

Last year,  Jim Urban wrote a post for this blog entitled Against Mulch. The principle reasons he cited for his position were: 1) Mulch floats and can clog drains and releases “lots of phosphorus” as it breaks down, and 2) work by Gilman et al. that suggest that mulch does not reduce evapo-transpiration. We discussed… More

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Retrofit SUDS Scheme Alleviates Flooding On-Site Silva Cell Case Study

In 2012 Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) committed a £15 million investment in Llanelli and Gowerton to help alleviate the risk of flooding in the area through the adoption of retrofit SUDS, or sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, that utilize greenspace and trees to prevent flooding by allowing rain to soak into the ground or slowly re-enter… More

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Are Natives the Answer?

My blog, The Garden Professors, has an ongoing and lively discussion about invasive plants.  Let me state up front that none of the Garden Professors is promoting invasive plants.  But the issues surrounding invasive plants are extremely complex and have profound implications for many groups with whom we work in landscape horticulture and urban and… More

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Does Exposure to Nature Aid Long-Term Thinking?

Long-term planning has got to be one of the biggest challenges to the way we conceive of, design, and live in the world – that is also completely essential to our survival. Why is long-term thinking such a hard sell? And is there anything we can do to be better at it? According to a… More

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History of Street Trees in the British Isles: Druids to Holy Romans

Despite modest amounts of annual precipitation, Ireland and Britain are among some of the most perfect places to grow trees. The high latitudes and moderating Gulf Stream of the Atlantic Ocean has insured an exceptionally temperate environment is ideal for most trees, even sub-tropical ones such as palm trees. Never too hot, never too cold,… More

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Wildlife Protector Certification: An Interview with Megan Morris

While on a recent visit to northern California, I had the opportunity to interview an energetic young woman who is at the forefront of a pioneering effort to educate fellow arborists on wildlife protection. Megan Morris is a Sacramento native who, after earning a degree in biological aspects of conservation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,… More

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The Champion and the Elf: Variability of the Coast Live Oak

Nature vs. nurture is an old debate in human psychology: are we the way we are because of our genetics or our environment? Plant people know that both environment and genetics play a role in plant development.  Perhaps one of the most dramatic examples can be found in the Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) in… More

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