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Urban dirt

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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.


February 14th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

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2012 landscape and garden trends

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The Garden Media Group has released its predictions for next year.

It’s annual Garden Trends Report outlines what consumers want when they head out to their gardens. It’s a quick read, and something any green industry professional can find useful when planning for the next 12 months.

Some highlights:

  1. Folks in urban settings are looking to garden in new places — balconies, tree lawns and vacant lots.
  2. Local is tantamount. Farmer’s markets, community supported agriculture and buying from the business down the street continue to grow in popularity.
  3. Anything, plants or technology, that can save water is a hit. Not only are people more conscious of their water use, but they are increasingly limited by their local governments on how much they can legally use.
  4. People want their service providers and the brands they buy to support good causes.

There’s plenty more in the full report, which you can download here.

As you continue your plannig for 2012, keep these in mind and think about what your customers want from you.


December 27th, 2011 at 2:00 pm