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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Smart Tree Care and Maintenance Lessons from other cities

In part one of this post, I gave my recommendations for how to address tree maintenance needs in a smarter and more financially (and ecologically) sustainable way. Those recommendations are great, but also general. I think we benefit the most when we share as much specific information about implementing ideas as possible, so today I… More

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Rethinking Maintenance of Urban Trees

If you’re a municipal arborist, you probably got into the field of tree care because you love working with trees and you could make a modest living. You know that that in cities maintenance is the only way that trees get large – and that size matters when we talk about the kind of ecosystem… More

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An Interview with Kelby Fite about Biochar

Dr. Kelby Fite is a national leader in the use of biochar to improve tree health. Kelby is an Arboricultural Researcher at Bartlett Tree Laboratory in Charlotte, North Carolina — a 350 acre private arboretum, diagnostic laboratory, and exceptional applied research center. His specialties are root biology and urban soil renovation. Kelby has a PhD…. More

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1 Million Trees: Vision or Nightmare?

In 1982, I was in China studying landscape architecture and architecture at the University of Nanjing. The central Chinese government had recently announced they would recommit to a nationwide multi-billion tree planting program, originally initiated in 1978. By then the Cultural Revolution was over, Mao Zedong was dead, the Gang of 4 had been jailed, and… More

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Does cold weather impact the water quality benefits of soil?

There is extensive evidence that soil is an amazing tool for improving the quality of water runoff, for reducing peak flow volume, and for storing water for use by the tree and for groundwater recharge in urban settings. We also know that trees in soil are basically “added capacity” – that is, while the soil… More

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10 Thoughts on Texas’s Trees

What’s happening in Texas? As far as we can tell, a lot. The Lone Star state is making some huge investments in sustainable development, including green infrastructure. L. Peter MacDonagh, FASLA – who has visited the state many times over the years, and twice in the last few months to speak about using trees and soils… More

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Top 10 Takeaways: International Low-Impact Development Conference

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) together with the Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) host one of the best research-driven conferences we’ve been to about low-impact development, held last month in Houston, TX. Today, L. Peter MacDonagh, FASLA – who spoke at the conference about using trees and soils for stormwater management – will share his Top… More

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