Developers not properly planting trees for long term health

I had to question if the new plant material was likely to flourish in such conditions.

Developers not properly planting trees for long term health

When planting a tree, any large foreign items in the hole which could impede root development should be removed. Unfortunately the exact opposite scenario regularly occurs during landscaping at commercial construction sites.

A concrete planter has recently been added adjacent to the parking lot of the new condo next door to my home. During construction this planter became a receptacle for various debris such as asphalt, rocks and excess concrete.

As a layer of top soil was being dumped into the planter on top of the rubble I had to question if the new plant material was likely to flourish in such conditions. I was reassured and told not to worry as they were only planting trees and shrubs with short roots. Somehow during my 43 years as a professional horticulturist, I must have overlooked this unique planting technique.

Any roots that are able to penetrate the concrete and debris would then find themselves in a mixture of gravel, sand and rock. Every speck of the original soil was of course stripped, hauled away and sold before construction started. No trees planted in this manner will ever achieve their full potential.

Urban growing conditions can be extremely harsh and challenging. Should we not be doing more to assist new trees to live and prosper?

Alan Shivas


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