Read about our latest research on stormwater for urban trees, citizen greening, biochar and more.
Benefits of trees in stormwater control measures
PhD candidate Jasmine Thom and colleagues installed infiltration trenches alongside established street trees to capture and direct stormwater and found trees used a significant proportion of this water – transpiring 17% of annual runoff. Installing trenches alongside established trees could help reduce urban stormwater runoff and its impact on waterways.
Thom J, Szota C, Coutts A, Fletcher T and Livesley S (2019) Transpiration by established trees could increase the efficiency of stormwater control measures. Water Research Available online 8 February 2020, 115597. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2020.115597
Urban trees and the soil compaction conundrum
Soil compaction can be a major impediment to tree growth as it damages soil physical and biological properties and reduces plant available water. Dr Peter Sommerville investigated the effects of adding organic matter (in the form of municipal green waste compost or biochar) with positive results seen in tree establishment. The addition of organic matter may be particularly beneficial in challenging sites where soil water is limited, or evapotranspiration demand is high.
Somerville P, Farrell C, May P and Livesley S (2020) Biochar and compost equally improve urban soil physical and biological properties and tree growth, with no added benefit in combination. Science of The Total Environment. Volume 706, 135736 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719357316
Citizen greening of nature strips
Marshall AJ, Grose MJ, and Williams NSG (2019) Footpaths, tree cut-outs and social contagion drive citizen greening in the road verge. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 44. DOI 10.1016/j.ufug.2019.126427
Marshall AJ, Grose MJ, Williams NSG (2019) From little things: More than a third of public green space is road verge. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 44. DOI 10.1016/j.ufug.2019.126423
What wood for biochar
Werdin J, Fletcher TD, Rayner JP, Williams NSG and Farrell C (2020) Biochar made from low density wood has greater plant available water than biochar made from high density wood. Science of the Total Environment 705. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135856
Green roof substrates
Conn R, Werdin J, Rayner JP and Farrell C (2020) Green roof substrate physical properties differ between standard laboratory tests due to differences in compaction. Journal of Environmental Management, 261, p.110206. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.110206