Street Trees, What is it Like to be One?

Niagara Falls Garden Magazine, Pages 75 to 83

What is it Like to be a Street Tree?

Click any page to enlarge for ease of reading.

The website for Trees, Heal Thyself.

Stop back for Tree Tips Tuesday, The Tree Before Your Garden, Pages 84 to 91. Plus a video of the process.

It explores the tree digging process.

Later we will look at trees suitable as City streets, as per City recommendation.  Notice I say suitable. No tree should be subjected to these conditions, but some are more apt to be of proper size and rooting. And is there any tree likely to withstand the empty lots of City life? Well yes there is, but think about that for a moment. Think about the weeds that grow on vacant lots discussed above and make your guesses.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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17 Responses to Street Trees, What is it Like to be One?

  1. Donna says:

    another wonderful post…it seems so abusive for the trees to have these conditions forced on them with such disregard…at the old house we had 100 ft maples and black walnuts that had moss and lichen on them…they were fairly healthy but because there was such intense shade the lichen and loss remained all year…learning so much as usual with your informative posts…

  2. Holley says:

    A lot of great information. We do tend to take trees for granted. I will definitely take a closer look at the trees in my neighborhood now!

  3. Excellent post! I can look around my neighborhood where 150 year old trees are dying because they were damaged during housing construction or the butchering of trees along side the road because it is the wrong tree in the wrong place. It is tragic how we abuse trees. Looking forward to Tuesday!

  4. One says:

    Impenetrable ground. That hit a note. That’s the kind of ground we have here. The rain trees have no problem. But many any other trees topple over during a storm as the roots are stunted.

  5. Sometimes I see these old trees around our area, all pruned, chopped and wounded, and I wonder how they have been able to survive such conditions. I have a lot of respect for the old ones. (Young ones as well.) The oldest are like elder statesmen. Standing tall, as strong as they can, providing shelter and shade for all.

  6. b-a-g says:

    Donna – I was going to plant a tree this year because there are campaigns on this subject. However, after reading your tree posts I’m going to do some research to make sure I plant the right tree in the right way. Thanks for another thought-provoking article.

  7. Really informative post Donna. Do you think we should change the way we build out plazas and streets to accommodate trees or just give up on them in downtown or built up areas? Bristol is full of streets lined with lime trees, which are cut back each year but which still seem to – for the most part – thrive, although given your post I wish I could venture back to my old stomping grounds and check them out. I would regret there being no tree canopy in the city, although carpets of wildflowers would be beautiful alongside the roads. What would you see happen, were you in charge of city landscaping?

  8. Cat says:

    Great post Donna. I’m amazed at how tall the trees are there in the shot of your neighbors distressed tree. Ours don’t get nearly as tall, but much wider. A lot of limestone around here so the roots can’t go as deep I guess. Fascinating how trees adapt to their surroundings. That they can live where they are so stressed says a lot about their tenacity.

  9. Karen says:

    I am so lucky to live in the country where the trees have no competition from sidewalks, power lines and their biggest threat, people. Every time I see a tree crammed into clay soil along with broken concrete blocks and other refuse surrounded by concrete curbs and then topped with large hunks of breaker rock right in the middle of a median (oh, and let’s not forget the landscaping fabric right up tight against the trunk, too) I wonder if the city planners have any idea whatsoever of what it takes for a tree to thrive? And do people always forget to look up when they plant a tree; do they not realize the power lines will still be there when (and if) the poor tree reaches it’s mature height? Every time I walk in the city, I’m amazed at what trees are expected to survive and the fact that they do survive at all is a mystery.

  10. Greenearth says:

    Great post, a healthy soil is so important.

  11. dona says:

    Congrats for Niagara Falls Garden Magazine, it’s going to be more and more interesting!

  12. Jess says:

    Its a great post here, on something I take for granted. These street trees here, mainly live oaks and crepe myrtles are an integral part of the beauty of the city. I am so glad they continue to thrive under so much stress. I do on occasion wonder where the roots are going…

  13. A lot of great information, Donna. And an interesting perspective–what it feels like to be a street tree.

  14. Andrea says:

    Hi Donna, great post again. I envy so much the countries which have concerns on their street trees. I know you have these functions in your governments. In this part of the world, the government have a lot of problems much much bigger, that tree problems seem to be relegated to the elements, alone… They plant trees but just leave them there. One thing i hate is putting the sidewalk concrete so close to the trunk that they dont have any room for growth, calluses being developed on top of the concrete to survive the constriction. How pathetic, but that is the depressing conditions of trees along our sidewalks!

  15. You are providing so much valuable information on the important topic of street trees. You might be interested in checking out the PA Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia Green site: Among other things, they are in the middle of a Plant One Million Trees Campaign.

  16. lifeshighway says:

    Oh, you have opened my eyes to the plight of city tree and now I feel so badly for them. I hoping this series continues with tree done correctly.

  17. Street trees are beautiful if they are planted correctly with special piping from above ground reaching the roots. Our town trees have been planted like that for ease of watering by the council in dry periods as much of the year they do have to fend for themselves. I’ve also noted that more of our native trees like Rowans have been used as they are a medium size of tree.

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