4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    City4ster said,

    Thats an easy answer…. and I am the one who puts trees there so I know!
    We tell the sidewalk and building engineers that we need more room but they won’t give us anymore but then they still ask (or force) us to plant there. It happens to me all the time. I say that’s too small a spot, or thats’ too close to a street light, or that tree will grow too large considering how close the street/building/power lines are… but they will do it anyway saying “we need this spacing so it looks right” or ” we need this species so they all look the same” or ” we have to follow a ordinance so don’t ask”. Landscape architects and installers are just following some engineers rules and only rarely get to make big changes to some road builders rules. The research is there to prove how much soil volume is needed and many ways to do it… but we dont have the money to lobby the Fed Highway Admin, like engineers, can to change rules.
    Its not trees that cause problems… its people who aren’t arborists or foresters making the decisions about trees…. This is true for any “sustainable” issue… green roofs not designed right… traffic calming issues not considering bus routes, etc…
    Trees are a better choice for any city than roads because roads cause problems for the environment and trees don’t. Its also a great difference in the way each industry looks at its work. I plant a tree and I expect it to be there for 100 years or more… a road or sidewalk builder expects 15-20 years at most for concrete and asphalt

  2. 2

    dangkid said,

    Intriguing point, but I think it depends on what you see as sustainable. Though, it does seem that these trees are harming the surrounding infrastructure, but they provide us with oxygen to breathe. So it’s an acceptable thing for me.


  3. 3

    nevin2 said,

    First off, not all trees are located on the edge of streets and buildings. A large number of trees are actullly located in designated parks within cities where the growth of a tree will effect virtually nothing. However, those trees that are alongside roadways and buildings that are slowly destroying infrastructure around them, will continue to slowly destroy the infrastructure, regardless if it is the sidewalk and building engineers, or whoever are making the decision to plant trees in such inconvienient places. Even if it is their fault it doesn’t sound like they’re interested in changing their minds about where they want trees. Planting trees may be a sustainable practice, but is a roadside the best location? I wonder how much money is put into repairing damage done be trees in urban regions, and how many green house gasses and other environmentally detrimental products are being released as a result?

  4. 4

    City4ster said,

    The point that trees and roadsides don’t mix is true but not because they can’t… its because trees aren’t planned for. Ask any construction person who installs sidewalks or parking lots or buildings. They will tell you about soil conditions, moisture, compaction levels, what weight a certain soil can support, what weight or PSI their mix is, etc… but ask what to do about trees and roots and they only have one answer…cut it down. Here is a list: Barriers, reinforcement, alternative base layers, pervious paving, structurally designed soils, support structures, alternative materials, moving the sidewalk or the tree, and preventative root cutting( as a maintenance task) are 10 ways that root issues can be avoided and all are proven thru research.
    I have been told that trees grow and change their environment ( not planning for how big trees get is another part of this problem) and building something is all about preventing change to the environment (if conditions don’t change then the building /road/whatever should react as it was designed)so trees, plants, and nature don’t fit into any of their models. Another city forester I know was told by a highway engineer that a car should run out of gas before it hits a tree… but that doesn’t stop them from signs, signs and more signs.
    As for the sustainability issue… living in the present so we don’t impact the future is a pretty basic but good definition. What about asphalt and concrete how do they meet that criteria? how its obtained, how its made, how its installed, and whats done with it when its taken out are all bad. Trees dont start out to good at a nursery (lots of water and chemicals) but then sequester carbon, shade the asphalt and concrete making it cooler, reduce wind speeds, while adding to property value are all good things. Tress also last a lot longer than concrete and asphalt. 20-25 years is the expected lifespan of a city sidewalk or street but trees can live over 100 years. Certainly… any maintenance needed outweighs the detriments. Yes we need roads and… while we plan for street lights, bike lanes, and sidewalk ramps…. they should be planning for trees too.

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