Successful Urban Tree Planting

The benefits that healthy urban trees provide are significant. However, the environmental conditions found in urban areas can often be challenging to their establishment and long-term survival. To give them the best opportunity to survive and thrive it is essential that they are planted in a way that provides them with sufficient root space and irrigation.

Generally, a minimum of 3m3 of rooting volume is required to give most tree types a viable chance of becoming established. Where this amount of space is not available, tree planting and growth is still possible provided care is taken with species selection and root management. The use of soil structure modules can help to prevent soil compaction and ensure that sufficient rooting volume is available.



In addition to being provided with sufficient room, tree roots can also be directed to ensure that they do not damage surrounding surfaces or underground structures. This includes, if a tree is to be positioned within or next to a paved surface, then the tree roots will need to be directed downwards to prevent paving heave.

In order for a tree to thrive, the roots must be able to receive a sufficient amount of water. Also, if the rooting area is waterlogged then the surrounding soil may become anaerobic, which is equally likely to result in the destruction of the tree. Therefore, consideration must be given to the substance and structure of the soil surrounding a tree to ensure that there is sufficient drainage to prevent waterlogging. Also as the majority of urban trees are covered by a hard surface, tree planting should also incorporate the means to irrigate efficiently.

Many urban trees are planted in exposed locations where they are vulnerable to the high winds that can develop as a result of urban wind tunnel effects. Therefore, an appropriate form of support is required to help trees through the initial growth phase. Underground guying is often preferred for urban tree pits as it is unobtrusive. Staking is a cost-effective alternative although this usually requires ongoing maintenance.

For further advice on tree selection and planting techniques plus professional tree installation in urban areas please contact us.