Comparison of Tree Responses to Different Soil Treatments Under Concrete Pavement
E. Thomas Smiley, James Urban, and Kelby Fite
Abstract: In urban areas there is a limited amount of soil space available for tree root growth. However, many systems have been developed that provide rooting space below pavement while supporting the weight of vehicles and pedestrians. Two main approaches have emerged: 1) supported pavement, and 2) structural growing media. This research was composed of two controlled studies that compare variations of these two approaches. The first was a 10-year study using elm trees that compared gravel-based structural soil (GBSS), expanded slate structural soil (ESSS), expanded slate (ES) alone, a concrete supported pavement and a compacted control. The second study was a four-year study using Liriodendron trees that compared GBSS, sandbased structural soil (SBSS), Silva Cells™, Stratacells™, an open control, and a compacted control. The results of these two studies showed that the trees growing in the supported pavement treatments with low-density soil media resulted in significantly greater tree growth and a healthier appearance. The treatments with the highly compacted soil media had less root development and less top growth. However, soil media that were highly compacted experienced less subsidence.
Keywords: Comparison of Tree Responses to Different Soil Treatments Under Concrete Pavement