Quotes

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

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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

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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

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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

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13 Simple Steps to Evaluate Trees

There are now dozens of open-source tree maps in communities worldwide. The most successful mapping projects are those that provide citizen scientists with simple guides on how to accurately identify tree species and assess tree health. The more accurate the information on the tree maps, the more accurate the green infrastructure calculations they produce – and the… More

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How Much Should You Water Your Tree?

Healthy trees can grow anywhere, including cities, provided they receive enough water, soil, and sunlight. Research shows that vigorous urban trees keep people healthier, cool cities in summer, warm homes in winter, help kids learn better, decrease car accident rates, raise real estate values, and decrease crime dramatically. Even with these myriad benefits, recent heat… More

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A Cooling Tool for CSO Hot Spots

There are many significant benefits to an MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) approach to managing urban stormwater. Many newer cities are fortunate to have such a system in place, but a great many don’t. Instead, they have a combined sewer system (CSS) where the same set of pipes handles both stormwater runoff and waste… More

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Can Dirt Become Soil Again?

I’ve known Dr. Bryant Scharenbroch, a soil researcher at Morton Arboretum and assistant professor of soil science at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, for 11 years. In that time, he’s been involved in some excellent research. One of his most recent projects, done in collaboration with Katie Klaus (Morton Arboretum), James Urban (Urban Trees… More

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LEED and SITES: The Changing Landscape

A few years ago I wrote an article about how LEED v4 addressed designing for trees, soils, and stormwater (green infrastructure).  Two big things have changed since then, so a follow-up explaining what’s new in this sustainable building certification system is in order: Project registration for LEED v2009 was extended by two years – by… More

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Phoenix, AZ’s Once and Future Forest

Richard Adkins, the Forestry Supervisor for the city of Phoenix, Arizona, likes to joke that despite the perception, Phoenix actually does have an Urban Forest. I met Richard when we were both speakers this past August at the American Public Works Association (APWA). He spoke to me about Phoenix’s current urban forest and some of… More

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