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deep planting--small sidewalk square

catharticus

catharticus

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Feb 3, 2001
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This is a tough one to explain. Is it ok to plant a tree deep(not deep enough to cut off oxygen) in a small sidewalk square--knowing that it will get to a certain size and decline(girdled roots)? Some trees in a downtown setting need to grow tall enough for lower branches to be removed(for traffic clearance)--but not too large in diameter. This is for zone 3-5. Any thoughts????
 
catharticus

catharticus

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Feb 3, 2001
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9
If a small tree wouldn't work and the only way to recieve the positive effects trees bring to a downtown streetscape is to plant a tree knowing it will decline.....It would be nice to have a tree that wouldn't decline in a tight spot--or get rid of bad street planners that don't consider trees and what they need to remain healthy.
 
catharticus

catharticus

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Feb 3, 2001
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Most deeply planted trees don't decline from the begining. Usually most trees grow for 10-20 years and then start to decline from girdled roots. Some trees like Honey Locust grow new roots from the buried stem--planting a tree to watch it decline isn't my idea of a good management plan. But...in some limited applications--(with the right care) like in the small city squares in a downtown streetscape --would it provide benefits, enough to warrent planting a tree that would decline after 10-20 years? I'm asking this question because my former employer--not educated at Point--tried to talk me into the idea ---- I'm interested in hearing what other people in the industry have to say about it.....Thanks!! not a L.A>pointer>>catharticus
 
catharticus

catharticus

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Feb 3, 2001
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Forgot to answer your question with that long response.....most trees will look totally normal until they hit that 10-20 year mark --- so a tree will provide shade-- a cooling effect associated with transpiration...etc.. if you need more info. try reading some of Dr. Alex Shigo's books. Sorry if you knew this stuff already--Thanks---
 
Ray Morneau

Ray Morneau

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Jan 18, 2001
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Location
Mtn View (SF Peninsula), CA
Very good question you ask. Very important to ask good questions.

I can't put my finger on it, of course. But when Bailey Hudson was City Arborist in Santa Maria (He's now ISA president - or elect - or such) -- He did a study which was written up in the Journal of Arboricuilture in which they planted trees deep in the tree cut-outs with good results -- not burying the root flares with soil, but maybe keeping the soil in the planter "boxes" lower than the surrounding sidewalk.

I'd suggest contacting Bailey &/or Santa Maria's current City Arborist. This is one of those things one (I) wishes had a follow-up write up.

There's a lot being done right now with structural soils, too. (See Cornell, Nina Bassack (sp?), Dave Dockter (City of Palo Alto), and such.

I wish there was a magic-wand-answer for your question! Good luck with that project.

Ray Morneau
 
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