Forest vs. City

Trees are woodland forestry plants. As soon as we forget this simple fact, we neglect the necessities that trees need and are likely to make mistakes when planting trees in urban locations.

A tree in a woodland forest has near perfect conditions; a sheltered microclimate, rich fertile soil with an abundance of nutrients and humus, uncompacted leaf mould, and rich rooting volume with plenty of moisture and pore space.

Now spare a thought for a tree in on a city street: a harsh paved surround, increasing microclimate temperatures and reflecting glare, exposure to wind and de-icing salt, and gratuitous vandalism. While below ground, an equally hostile environment of compacted soils, lack of quality rooting volume, competition for space with utilities and other services, and if it does manage to spread its root system, someone will mutilate it through trenching or pavement reinstatement.

With these factors in mind we can begin the process of successfully integrating trees into city environments. By using suitable urban tree planting products, we can protect trees in urban forests above and below ground. And by managing and providing for their delicate root systems, we can recreate optimum conditions for our urban forests to establish. We cannot recreate entirely the conditions trees enjoy in woodland forests, but we can go a huge distance in improving their chances of thriving in challenging urban conditions by employing tree literate design and best practice methodolgy.