Case Study: UNC Plaza Trees Make a Statement 12 Bald Cypresses receive 700 ft3 of soil per tree

A Silva Cell installation at the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill, NC, took place in a plaza by the (LEED Certified Silver) Genome Science Building on the Bell Tower Campus near Kenan Stadium.

Here, Silva Cells were incorporated in to the site plans in order to expand rooting volume for plaza trees under paved areas. The designers wanted the new trees to grow to similar sizes over the decades to come, which consistent amounts of shared soil volumes will help make possible.

Over 700 Silva Cell frames were used in a two-layer installation throughout the entire plaza area. Twelve trees will share the rooting space, resulting in over 700 cubic feet (20 cubic meters) of soil per tree.

Bald Cypress trees were selected for the new plaza area. This species was chosen because it is an underutilized native tree, and the campus’ landscape standards aim to use native
plants where possible. With such ample soil volumes, the cypresses have long projected lifespans and are expected to beautify the plaza for many decades to come.

Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects and ColeJenest & Stone were the landscape architects on the project. Sand set pavers will capture some stormwater along with surface water that enters the tree openings. The plaza will act as a gathering space for students to study in an outdoor setting.

This was the first Silva Cell installation on the University of North Carolina campus and will be watched closely as a demonstration project. If successful, the Silva Cells will become a standard for university development in the future.

Installation Summary:
Total soil volume per tree: 700 ft³ (20 m3), shared
Number of Silva Cells: 750 frames, 380 decks
Installation date: November 2011
Project designers: Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects and ColeJenest & Stone
Client: University of North Carolina
Contractor: Davis Landscape
Number of trees: 12 bald Cypress

Leave a Reply