Why Do Trees in Hard Surfaces Fail? - GreenBlue Urban
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Why Do Trees in Hard Surfaces Fail?

All of us in the landscape profession wish our workmanship to accurately reflect the mission and values of our company.  So, why is it that too often trees in hard surfaced areas fail within a few years, or at least never attain healthy maturity?

What appears to be the reason that some green infrastructure thrives and some fails?

Well, there are of course many reasons, but the single most critical factor is the soil or planting medium; and not just the correct proportion of the constituent parts, but its condition: is it compacted? Is it aerated? Is it drained?

Successful Urban Planting in Ashington, UK

Trees are forest plants, perfectly adapted to grow in a wide range of climatic conditions and soil types. However, there are no species yet known to science that have adapted to grow in a heavily compacted environment and cope with impermeable surfacing created to allow for vehicular overrun.

Therefore, to get trees to thrive in these hostile and often polluted urban zones we need to recreate, as far as possible, the forest floor soil scenario.

How do we create a forest floor setting for urban trees?

Commonly, structural soil is misunderstood as the best option for urban tree growth. However any compactable medium such as rock/soil matrix, Urban Tree Soil, Stockholm mix, Amsterdam Sand, etc. by definition have to be compacted to be structural. These systems are simply a round grained aggregate which have small voids between the grains of air, water and nutrient. Approximately 80% compacted aggregate to provide structural stability for the surface and 20% soil in between the aggregate to provide growing medium.

These systems are often over compacted through fear of structural deformation and become too heavily compacted to allow for root penetration. Even when installed correctly, they are low in nutrient content (consisting primarily of structure where a forest floor soil is principally nutrient) and thus the nutrient becomes quickly depleted, and the tree dies prematurely.

The good news is, there’s a better way! In the 1990’s, GreenBlue Urban started development of the world’s first advancement to structural soil – the soil cell. Introducing a way to significantly increase the soil volume provided for trees over against structural soil.

RootSpace: The worlds most advanced soil cell – with industry-leading void space and strength

As the global pioneers of the soil cell, GreenBlue Urban are constantly researching and developing new and more efficient ways to achieve below ground cohabitation of tree roots and below ground urban constraints. The RootSpace system has made it easier and more cost-effective than ever to plant trees in restricted urban areas, anywhere in the world.

Fully tested for structural integrity, with soil cells able to take up to 60 tons per m2, GreenBlue Urban have a tree planting system for every urban eventuality with no risk of paving slump or hardscape failure.

RootSpace being installed with ease

The carbon footprint of urban tree planting is a consideration that is important to us here at GreenBlue Urban. We manufacture at our UK and North American sites using only 100% recycled materials. Filler soil cost is not insignificant, but the beauty of the RootSpace system is that existing dug soil can be used to fill the cells (subject to testing for suitability).

Here at GreenBlue Urban we are committed to helping you with every step. We offer a full free-of-charge design service, specification help, and on site installation assistance. This means that we can sign-off the tree pits as correct, thus transferring the liability from you to us leaving you to move on to the next project with no tree worries. And with most standard systems being in stock, many products are available for next day shipping.

All of the components of the ArborSystem are fully compatible; from the RootSpace soil cells, through ReRoot root management products, RootRain irrigation and the above ground inlets, grilles, guards and other tree protection – everything is covered by the GreenBlue Urban promise to “enable sustainable cities through the use green and blue infrastructure”

Completed project in Ashington, UKGreenBlue Urban help you give every tree the same opportunity to attain species potential wherever it is planted, and give you the opportunity to further enhance your reputation as a long-term quality player in the fast-growing healthy cities urban landscape sector.