What is Soil Structure and Why is it Important?

A previous blog entry, Healthy Soils for Healthy Trees, discussed the importance of preserving soil structure from being destroyed by compaction. Together, soil texture and soil structure have the greatest influence on pore space in soil, and how easily air, water, and roots can move through a soil. Many people are aware of what soil… More

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Tree Roots Improve Soil Infiltration Rates

As discussed in previous blogs, tree and soil provide stormwater benefits in many different ways: Cleansing:  Trees clean stormwater through many different mechanisms, including filtration, adsorption, and plant uptake. Interception: Interception is the amount of rainfall temporarily held on tree leaves and stem surfaces. This rain then drips from leaf surfaces and flows down the… More

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The Most Important Factor for Growing Healthy Trees

Many factors affect tree health. Are they all equally important or are some more important than others? According to Kim Coder, PhD, Professor of Tree Biology & Health Care at the University of Georgia, soil compaction is by far the biggest constraint on tree growth. In a 2007 paper, he wrote, “Soil compaction is the most… More

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The Role of Trees for Bioretention Areas

Silva Cells were originally developed to provide adequate tree rooting volumes even in areas dominated by pavement. They do this by extending rootable soil volume under HS20 load bearing surfaces. These rootable tree volumes and the large trees that root in them are also an efficient sustainable stormwater management system. Sometimes people ask us if… More

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Long-Term Use of Bioretention for Heavy Metals Removal

Bioretention has been shown to effectively remove heavy metals from stormwater runoff, which makes it a very useful design tool. However, there are two common concerns related to long term use of bioretention for heavy metals removal: (1) When will breakthrough occur, i.e. when will the binding sites be saturated so that dissolved heavy metals… More

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Plant This: Three Deciduous Conifers

Biodiversity in the urban forest is incredibly important to resilience and long-term planning (something we’ve written about extensively, here, here, here,  and here, to name just a few). To help designers start thinking about ways to increase diversity, we’re starting a series on some of our favorite species. Many of the species included will be… More

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Improving Stormwater Control Measure Performance with Biochar

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know we’ve had a recent spate of articles about biochard – from its history, to a discussion of possible applications and controversies, to a question-and-answer following  a recent webinar about what designers need to know about the product. Because of the tremendous potential for… More

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New Research on the Impact of Trees on the Urban Heat Island Effect

Today I had the privilege of talking to Austin Troy, Professor and Chair of the Department of Planning and Design at the University of Colorado Denver. He recently presented preliminary results of his research on “The Effect of Urban Tree Canopy on Microclimate and Heat Islands” in a webinar and I was interested in learning… More

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How Sandy Does Bioretention Soil Need to Be?

Bioretention media is an important topic in the design world. As green infrastructure solutions gain acceptance, there is increased focus on finding the most effective media for on-site stormwater management. But there isn’t (yet) a lot of agreement on what the media consists of, and how to make it both functional for stormwater while being… More

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