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16 Apr


Up by Roots

April 16, 2010 | By |

Up by Roots, a book written by landscape architect James Urban is about improving growing conditions for trees in urban environments.

Nakano Associates recently took part in his Seattle workshop. Although organized by the local chapter of the International Society of Arborists (ISA), the workshop focuses on what landscape architects can do to improve conditions for trees by designing environments that allow trees to grow to their full capacity. This increases the many benefits trees bring to the urban environment.

In the workshop Urban addressed several strategies to consider when designing for tree planting. Here are a few of them;

– Plant trees in places with few existing conflicts. This might seem easy, but our urban environments are often a cobweb of utilities and other structures both under and above ground.

– Make larger planting spaces for trees, ideally 20′ x 20′. Part of this area can be paved with existing soil structures underneath.

– Improve soils for trees; urban soils are often highly compacted with low amounts of available oxygen and nutrients for trees).

– Select the right tree and spacing of the trees. This seems obvious, but Urban emphasized that this doesn’t necessarily mean that a small tree is better. As a matter of fact we are losing the diversity in size and tree species to a limited number of currently recommended smaller trees.

Learn more in James Urban’s book Up by Roots. It is a great reference book in regards to how we can improve on design, soils, tree species selection and management.