Big, healthy street trees – not that hard

Just remember – ‘big and alive with five by five’. We’ll get back to that shortly.

You ever notice that the most expensive homes are simply the ones on streets with the biggest trees? Or that the trees on most streets rarely seem to grow, and when they do, they eventually fall over in a major storm? You would too if someone tied your ankles together.

Here’s two things that don’t add up:

1. A trees roots naturally extend as far apart as its canopy.
2. Tree roots cannot grow under sidewalks.

Roots can only extend as far as they receive air and water from the soil above, which is impossible when there’s a sidewalk above, which needs to be supported by densely packed gravel otherwise they start breaking up.

The solution is to have at least a 5’x5′ tree planter. Most planters are 3’x3′ – which explains short, stunted tree lives, and the same for property values. Another technique is shown above (image on right is from the award-winning Elevation 314 development), where a metal grating hovers over the roots, allowing air, sunlight and water. It’s only 4′ in width, but extends throughout the length of the sidewalk. Translation: a good place to invest in a home.

The City of Portland has some of the best street tree guides around.

How are the street trees in your neighborhood? How important are they to your street? Speak your mind below…

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