How Did Silva Cell Get Its Name?

At DeepRoot, we believe big, resilient, strong, healthy trees should be part of an ever-expanding arboreal canopy throughout all the urban areas of the planet. We want to see trees that grow to their full potential and function as part of nature’s ecosystem to mitigate air pollution, absorb noise pollution, provide color and beauty (enhancing people’s mental health), as well as instrumentally aiding in flooding abatement and managing storm and rainwater. That is a big ask. City trees need our support. Trees in cities face constraints that trees in forests or protected wilderness never do. Our urban trees need soil volume to grow deep roots, so they can live their best life. DeepRoot knows and supports this, which is why we invented, manufacture, and sell the Silva Cell system.

So why is it called Silva Cell? 

Silva. Cell.                      sil·​va | \ ˈsil-və  \   ce·​ll | \ ˈsel  \

Silva is not a favorite type of tree, a classified soil, or even the name of DeepRoot CEO and co-inventor Graham Ray’s dog (though Sadie does indeed start with an s).

Silva is derived from the Latin word silva, meaning wood. In the mid-19th century, its usage evolved to describe a forest of trees in a certain area. “Look at the silva past the house, beyond the windmill, just before the bridge!” might have been a way to use the word in 1848.

Our dictionary friends at Merriam-Webster, Wiktionary, Collins, and WordReference define silva as:
Merriam-Webster: “The forest trees of a region or country and first used in 1848.”
Wiktionary: “‘Old Portuguese’ describing forest”
Collins: “A book or treatise describing the trees of a certain area.”
WordReference: “Neo-Latin, special use of Latin silva woodland 1840–50”

Whichever reference you like, they all point back to wood and trees.

The second word in the name of our product, cell, also has meaning that ties in with our mission. Depending on the context, there could be a prison cell, a cubicle cell, a biology cell, or many other definitions. Yet all contexts encapsulate the following: a dependent, structural, fundamental, functional unit of a larger organism.
Historically/Religiously: “A small monastery or nunnery dependent on a larger one.”
Scientifically: “The smallest structural and functional unit of an organism. A small compartment in a larger structure (such as a honeycomb). The fundamental molecules of life of which all living things are composed. Structural, functional, and biological unit of all known organisms.”

Combine the definitions of silva and cell and you get:
A wood structure.
A dependent structure in a forest of trees.
A functional unit of trees.

Today, the essential definition of Silva Cell the product is:  a structural unit that is fundamental to supporting a larger urban tree-centric community for our citizens, our infrastructure, air, water, birds and our mental health.

In 2020, one might use Silva Cell in a sentence like, “Hey, Taylor, I need a quote for 3,000 Silva Cells for the GC in Austin.” Or “Wow, Silva Cells made this tree grow twice as big as those trees without Silva Cells.” Even, Silva Cells are part of a resilient green infrastructure to help mitigate the effects of climate change.”

Silva Cells have been successfully used to provide support for tree roots and manage stormwater in cities across the United Kingdom, throughout Canadasmall-town Iowa , and all five boroughs of New York City. They are truly a functional unit for trees no matter the region.

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