Successful Tree Planting Projects Require More Than Just “Planting”

If there is anything good that has come out of this pandemic, it is the realization of the benefits of urban forestry by the general public. The increasing demand exposed a lot of the problems of tree planting projects in the past. 1-year warranty has nothing to do with the establishment period of a tree. Massive tree planting efforts that happened on two days of a year (Earth Day and Arbor Day) ended up being repeated annually.

Among the common factors affecting the survival of newly planted trees, underwatering and overwatering are the top two. Landscape architects typically are not the parties to blame if proper maintenance instruction (and a disclaimer) have been included. But it doesn’t mean the project will look good.

Is there anything the landscape architects can do to give the plants a better chance to survive?

By examining the situation and looking at the root of the problem, the real limitation is in the Plant Available Water (PAW). No matter how much one irrigates the soil or how much rainwater falls on to it, any water above the Field Capacity is wasted. We will review some technologies for stabilizing soil moisture, including methods that significantly boost the PAW without drowning the plant roots. We also review methods and technologies that make the best usage of natural precipitation (stormwater). Case studies across North America will be used to illustrate how these methods can significantly increase the survival rate of newly transplanted trees.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn the environmental, health and societal benefits of green infrastructure
  2. Study and discuss the main technical challenges encountered in the green infrastructure, urban forestry and landscaping industry
  3. Learn that the most important factor for the survival of newly planted plants: limited plant available water, especially in the compacted soils and limited soil volume in urban area
  4. Learn how to solve the problems by increasing plant available water with real-life case studies across the United States

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