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Techniques for Directing Stormwater Into Silva Cells

The Silva Cell is well known as a suspended pavement system that provides large soil volumes to aid tree growth and health. Less well known is the capacity of the Silva Cell system to provide onsite stormwater management. Whereas traditional stormwater management has focused on collecting stormwater in piped networks and transporting it offsite as… More

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High Tree Canopy Cover Results In Fewer Heat-Related Emergencies

Today’s post is an interview with Drew Graham, a Landscape Architectural Intern at Brodie & Associates Landscape Architects in Toronto, ON. As an MLA student at the University of Guelph, Drew studied how heat-related emergency calls were distributed throughout the city. What he found was that areas with low tree canopy cover had significantly higher heat related emergencies… More

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What Is Soil Organic Matter?

Today’s post, written by James Urban, FASLA, originally ran in 2011. But understanding soil organic matter – a sometimes mysterious-seeming property of healthy soil – remains a fundamental component of any discussion about planting trees for long-term success. -LM As a soils guy, I have a lot of discussions with clients and colleagues about the quantity… More

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Beyond “Green Side Up” Four Reasons Your Trees May be Failing

You’ve done your site analysis and ensured enough rooting volume for the tree.  You spent time carefully selecting the right species and cultivar. You’ve even inspected nursery stock and rejected specimens with uncorrectable root defects. In other words, you tried to do everything right. Yet six months later, the trees don’t look so good. What… More

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Treating Trees as Actual Infrastructure

A couple of weeks ago my brother sent me a link to a story on WNYC about the variable mortality rates for trees that were planted as part of New York City’s Million Trees initiative. We’ve seen the uneven outcomes of planting efforts like these before, and New York is no exception. Dedicated (volunteer) citizens who water… More

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Is Average Tree Lifespan a Meaningful Number?

7 years. 13 years. 15 years. You’ve probably heard all of these figures (and more) applied to the true average lifespan of a street tree. So which one is correct? According to Lara Roman, a Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, the question is more complicated than it first appears. The 7 year figure… More

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Where Has All The Soil Gone?

Q: What does it mean to say we are losing soil? Where does it go? A: You may hear the phrase: “We are losing our soil.” Sounds serious…but how do we lose soil? Where does it go? Soil erosion is the movement of soil by wind or water, and it’s through erosion that soil is “lost.” If… More

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Transforming the Character of St. Mary’s Way Silva Cell Case Study

In 2008 the City of Sunderland released their comprehensive Central Area urban design strategy, outlining their vision for revitalizing the city centre by improving pedestrian accessibility, creating a people-focused identity, enhancing the public realm, and bringing forward major regeneration projects that would help to attract investors and improve quality of life for residents, workers, and… More

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