Quotes

Is Soil Renewable or Non-Renewable?

Q: I recently got into a conversation with someone who claimed soils are a renewable resource because the nutrients in them can be replaced with fertilizers. But I’ve heard that soil takes a really long time to form, so that to me makes it non-renewable. What’s your opinion? A: The idea that soil is renewable… More

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How Trees and Soil Improve Water Quality

We write a lot about the benefits that trees and soils have on water quality. But what, exactly, do they improve? Back in 2011, landscape Nathalie Shanstrom tackled this topic, explaining in easy-to-understand terms what we mean by when we refer to water quality improvements. While seriously impaired runoff is not a concern on most sites,… More

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Two New Trees Replace Poisoned PredecessorsAuburn University: Toomer’s Oaks

In January 2011, two live oak trees on the Auburn University campus were deliberately applied with an herbicide used to kill trees (Spike 80DF, also called tebuthiuron) in lethal amounts. The trees, located at an entrance to the University known as Toomer’s Corner, had traditionally been used as a gathering area for Auburn fans following team victories. The… More

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One Trees forgotten art project

OneTrees: The Forgotten Tree Art Project

The other day, I passed a dead street tree in San Francisco Not an uncommon occurrence unfortunately, but this tree had once been on TV. The tree, a Paradox walnut, had been planted along with a second tree next to it as part of an art/science project called OneTrees designed by Natalie Jeremijenko. Jeremijenko cloned… More

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Cities That are Pioneers in Developing Stormwater Credit Systems for Trees

Cities That are Pioneers in Developing Stormwater Credit Systems for Trees

Recognizing the many benefits trees provide, more and more jurisdictions are providing incentives to both preserve existing trees and plant new trees. Examples of such incentives include grants, tax rebates, development incentives, stormwater fee discounts, and stormwater credits. Today I’ll be focusing on stormwater credits for trees, particularly stormwater credits applicable to individual trees on… More

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Is it “Soil” or is it “Dirt”?

A recent issue of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) magazine, Ground, contained a great discussion between nine professionals on the topic of soil. James Urban, FASLA, ISA, wrote to the magazine to add a few more comments to the piece – taking issue with the contention that what we plant in shouldn’t be… More

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What’s Behind the “Fresh Earth” Smell in Spring?

Question: What makes that “fresh earth” smell in spring? What is that? Answer: In a word, geosmin. Geosmin is an organic compound released by a group of soil microorganisms called actinomycetes. Actinomycetes are filamentous “prokaryotes.” In other words, they are microscopic organisms whose cells have no “nucleus” enclosing their DNA. Organisms that do have cell nuclei—like plants,… More

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