When I was at CENTS last month, I attended a talk by James Urban on the science of urban soils. The soil underneath urban areas is getting a lot more attention these days, at least as much – if not more – than the concrete and steel above grade.
As Amy Biegelsen writes in the Atlantic:
Lately, though, the jungle has made a comeback as cities have begun investing in more ways to improve street trees and their soil. That’s partly thanks to growing enthusiasm for green infrastructure and landscape projects as economic development engines. It’s also due to federal regulations that require cities to draft and implement formal plans to keep storm water run-off from spreading pollutants and overburdening sewer systems. If rainwater can get back into the ground through by filtering through street tree soil, there’s less of it for the city to manage.
As any landscaper worth his salt knows, the surest way to guarantee the success of a plant is to guarantee the quality of hte soil it grows in.
For a good read on this, pick up Urban’s “Up by Roots,” where he outlines the basic techniques necessary to find, test and improve the soil in urban areas.
And check out the rest of the Atlantic article for an update on new systems that folks like Davey, Bartlett and other city-focused companies are using to ensure the urban canopy survives for the next generations of city dwellers.