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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 7, Issue 2 — February 1981

Landfill Gas, What it does to Trees and how its Injurious Effects may be Prevented    (View PDF)

Franklin B. Flower, Edward F. Gilman, and Ida A. Leone

Abstract: The conversion of former refuse landfills into post closure uses generally involves the planting of trees for aesthetic and occasionally commercial purposes. The authors have noted that it is frequently difficult to obtain satisfactory tree growth when the gases of anaerobic decomposition of the organic matter contained in the refuse are present. The lack of oxygen and the presence of excessive quantities of carbon dioxide in the soil root zone appear to be the cause of much tree injury and death when the trees are grown above or adjacent to former refuse fills. Thin, low-nuthent-content cover soils, lack of adequate soil moisture, excessive compaction, and surface settlement have also been identified as problems found associated with former refuse deposit areas. Methods are suggested for preventing the entry of landfill gases into the root zones of the trees and in accommodating other tree growth problems found associated with former refuse dumping areas. These include gas venting and blocking, irrigation, planting adaptable species, using small sized specimens in preference to large, and providing adequate maintenance.


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