Praise for James Urban’s Book, Up By Roots

Jake Sippy of Design Workshop has some nice words for Jim Urban’s book, Up By Roots. I thought the salient points that stuck with him from the book were very valuable, and worth repeating. For those of you who don’t own the book or haven’t been to an Up By Roots workshop, I highly recommend both.

Here are the takeaways that Jake jotted down to pique the interest of his readers:

  • Trees grow, age and die.
  • Tree biology and physics are inseparable.
  • “A tree’s potential for growth is controlled by the most limiting factor.” Six of the seven potentially limiting factors relate to soils and the root package.
  • “A single tree in an easy place can have a greater impact than a row of declining trees in difficult places.”
  • Tree grates (and tree guards) are “not a good solution” as they “do nothing good for the tree.”
  • If you must use a tree grate, make it big (4’x12′) with a large opening (18″-24″) so the tree won’t be collared as it grows.
  • Tree size and health is directly proportionate to soil volume.  No matter how big a caliper of tree you start with, or how good you maintenance, or even how high of quality the topsoil is, a tree cannot grow larger than the available soil volume will allow.
  • The optimum soil volume for a tree is 20’x20’x3′.  An urban tree should have at least 1,000 cu. ft. of soil.
  • Structural soil is not necessarily the best solution for expanding soil volume.
  • Each project needs a Lorax.
  • Design for maintenance.  A larger soil volume is one way in which to overcome low maintenance.

You can’t go wrong! Buy it today.

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