Urban Tree Management Strategies: Ways to Keep Urban Trees Healthy

Xiao Yang

Professor Bess Wellborn Yates

Green Vs. Grey TR 12:30-1:50

Urban Investigations / Blog Post #2

Urban Tree Management Strategies: Ways to Keep Urban Trees Healthy

As we all may know by now, trees has the ability to help improve the environment. According to class discussion, trees can absorb carbon dioxide and give back oxygen, improving the air quality and reducing the pollution. Tress can also help improve water quality, help saves energy, and statistics even show that there is a lower rate of crime in the areas where there is tree. That is, trees actually reduce crime and increases public safety as well as building a community. Green spaces and forests in urban areas can contribute to building a livable community. Even having just a single tree in a household’s yard or along the street can beautify and add value to homes and communities. Unfortunately, due to urban stresses on trees, some trees do not survive very long. As a matter of fact, these mature trees that died cannot be replaced easily in today’s city conditions and even when replaced, the replaced trees do not reach the same statures as an existing mature tree (LandOwner Resource Centre). Thus, it is critical for us to take care of our existing mature trees. Through examination of various articles, books, videos, websites regarding urban tree management, it is clear that there are many things we can do to help out the trees in our community.

According to an article written by the LandOwner Resource center, trees in urban cities are compacted with poor soil, city trees, driveways, and underground utility services that may constrain their roots. In addition to that, there is a shortage of water, nutrients, there are shades from buildings and with pollution and road salt during the winter time, and trees can be killed easily. Other than the typical urban stress, there are also what Bonnie called a “normal” stress which are droughts, sun scald, bacteria, fungal diseases, invasive insects, and of course, the severe weather or climate.  In order to keep the urban tress stress-free, a good start would be finding the right location to plant the trees to begin with. A good location would be somewhere with good loosen soil and the right amount of sunlight. Afterwards, the trees should be taken care of with regular watering, fertilizing, and pruning.

Watering is a very important factor for maintaining the health of urban trees. In urban cities, drought is one of the greatest threats. If the city did not have rain for five or six days continually, the trees will suffer significantly. Although the damage is not visible at first, a dieback of branches may appear a year later. As a result, watering regularly in the times of drought can contribute tremendously to the tree’s growth.



A good time to fertilize the trees would be in the fall. Before fertilizing an arborist should be hired to examine the tees, test the soil and give advice on what type of fertilizer to apply. In addition, one should not fertilize a year after some serious damage caused by storm, ice or other natural disasters because trees can be stressed from absorbing the fertilizer.


Last but not least, pruning, one of the most significant elements in the tree management process. Pruning can maintain tree’s health by allowing the remaining branches of the tree to grow freely.

In Neil Letson’s article, “Public Attitudes Toward Urban Trees And Supporting Urban Tree Programs,” he and his colleagues analyze a survey response of “Alabama urban residents’ attitudes toward urban trees and the provision and maintenance of urban forest by federal, state, and local governments, as well as personal willingness to volunteer and donate money in support of urban tree programs and activities.” Their result shows that  people who most people younger than 56 are willing to contribute their time toward urban forestry programs and activities. This suggests that in order to keep the trees healthy in our city, words regarding the benefits of trees must be spread.


For more info visit:

The Tree Resource Guide: http://www.patrees.org/


Fairmount Park: http://www.fairmountpark.org/streettree.asp



FAQ about Trees: http://www.phila.gov/green/FAQs.html

Work Cited

Bonnie L., and John G. Boulahanis. “Keeping Up The Urban Forest: Predictors Of Tree

Maintenance In Small Southern Towns In The United States.” Arboriculture & Urban

             Forestry 34.1 (2008): 41-46. Academic Search Premier. Web. 10 Nov. 2011.

Neil Letson, et al. “Public Attitudes Toward Urban Trees And Supporting Urban Tree Programs.”

Environment & Behavior 39.6 (2007): 797-814. Academic Search Premier. Web. 10 Nov.


Zheng, B.. Assessing Urban Trees and Urban Forests Management.  Diss. Auburn

University, 2011. Dissertations & Theses: A&I, ProQuest. Web. 10 Nov. 2011.


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