showing the difference in root growth in soil quality

Everybody knows that good soil quality is the foundation for tree growth!

However, not all soils are the same, and that can have a significant impact on the trees growing from it.

Cultivating the right kind of soil will ensure trees will live and thrive, even in urban locations where there is less room for them to survive.

That’s why it’s so important to take note on what’s happening below ground, if you want to enjoy the beauty and shade of the greenery above.

Let’s take a closer look at soil and its importance for healthy tree growth.

soil profile soil quality Citygreen

What Makes Up Good Soil Quality?

Soil is composed mainly of elements like water, minerals, nutrients and gases.

Different types of soil vary according to texture, colour, depth, acidity, fertility and ability to hold water. Because each tree species has different needs, it’s crucial to know what kind of soil they require to grow – if you want the best results.

To help familiarise yourself with the varieties of soil, here are the most common types of soils you need to remember:

  • Chalky – a stony type of soil that can be found on top of limestone or bedrock
  • Clay – a tightly packed soil that is often lumpy and sticky when wet
  • Sandy – dry and loose soil base that has a rough texture
  • Silt – smooth, slippery kind of soil that is composed of fine particles
  • Peaty – contains a great amount of organic matter due to its acidic nature
  • Loamy – the best soil for planting, as it’s full of nutrients and can hold water well
CITYGREEN Tree Visual vector1 soil quality Citygreen

Why is Loamy Soil the Best?

Loamy soil stands out as an optimal choice for trees due to its unique blend of qualities that foster robust growth. Its balanced composition—a blend of sand, silt, and clay—provides an uncompacted environment for tree roots. Loamy soil offers excellent drainage, preventing waterlogging that can drown roots, while retaining enough moisture to sustain trees during dry spells. Moreover, loamy soil is rich in essential nutrients, supporting healthy tree development by efficiently absorbing and storing vital minerals. Its texture facilitates superior aeration, preventing compaction and enabling roots to spread easily, reducing the amount of energy the tree needs to use to push new root growth through the soil ensuring strong anchorage and encouraging healthy root systems. The versatility of loamy soil accommodates a wide variety of tree species, making it an excellent choice for nurturing flourishing trees.

However, while loamy soil is generally advantageous for tree growth, different tree species may have specific soil preferences. Factors like climate conditions, sunlight exposure, and adequate care significantly impact a tree’s health and growth.

At Citygreen we do on-site soil analysis for any new plantings and can offer you soil specifically designed for the tree and site location. This ensures that the tree is planted in the best possible circumstances to kickstart canopy growth.

soil cell being filled with high quality loamy soil

Why is Soil Quality Important for Tree Health?

The soil you use can either nurture or restrain your trees’ growth because soil performs a lot of essential functions. Here are the five reasons why soil is important for trees:

Soil provides a foundation for tree growth.

Soil serves as the anchor that holds trees firmly in place. It provides structural stability, preventing them from toppling over in adverse weather conditions. The composition and texture of the soil determine how well it can support a tree’s weight and ensure it remains upright throughout its life.

Soil stores the necessary amount of water for trees.

Soil acts as a reservoir for water, which is crucial for a tree’s survival and growth. It stores rainwater and moisture, making it available to tree roots during dry periods. This stored water ensures that trees can continue photosynthesis and nutrient uptake even when external water sources are scarce.

Soil Hosts Biodiversity.

Soil is a vibrant ecosystem teeming with life. It provides habitat for various organisms, from earthworms to beneficial microorganisms. This biodiversity is essential for soil health and indirectly benefits trees by enhancing nutrient cycling, improving soil structure, and promoting overall soil vitality.

Soil supports the trees’ roots in accessing nutrients and minerals.

The root system of a tree relies on the soil to access essential nutrients and minerals. These nutrients are found in the soil in various forms, and the tree’s roots play a vital role in absorbing and transporting them to different parts of the tree. Adequate soil composition is crucial to ensure that trees receive the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.

Soil filters out the pollutants that can harm trees.

Soil serves as a natural filter, removing harmful pollutants from water before it reaches a tree’s root system. Pollutants, such as heavy metals or chemicals, can be detrimental to trees if they enter their vascular system. The soil acts as a protective barrier, purifying water and ensuring that only clean, nutrient-rich water is available to the tree’s roots.

strataflow system showing how stormwater can be used to filter and clean water

In urban locations where healthy soil is not abundant or tightly compacted to ensure stability for urban infrastructure, it’s important to ensure that trees are planted with the appropriate soil structure to compensate – often called the “architecture of the soil.”

Having the right soil architecture guarantees that there is proper arrangement of soil particles (including silt, sand and clay that aggregate together). It also involves measuring the correct pore spaces between each tree, which enables their roots to propagate without causing any structural pavement damage.

When these two considerations are overlooked, trees will struggle to grow in city and suburban locations, leading to replacement and maintenance costs, unsightly spaces and poor shade quality for the community.

Citygreen understands this challenge.

That’s why we deliver innovative urban landscape solutions like Soil Vault Systems. Our very own Stratavault© and Stratacell© tree products facilitate healthy root growth for your trees while making sure they won’t cause any damage to your city’s infrastructure.

To find out more about these products, head to https://citygreen.com/product-category/soil-structure-systems/.

Visual 6 1 Stratavault with Roots e1601433191112 soil quality Citygreen