With trees come their roots – and it’s always something that needs to be carefully considered when planting in a city setting. How can you ensure the roots of your urban trees will grow well under a sidewalk?

What’s the best alternative to make soil conducive for planting, even when it’s located in the city?

For years, people have been relying on structural soil to help trees mature in an urban environment. However, recent developments of soil cell products offer greater opportunities for city trees to grow and thrive in a shorter amount of time.

To help you identify the ideal option for your city, here’s a quick comparison guide about soil cells and structural soil & sand.

What is structural soil?

People often think that structural soil and soil cells are in the same league. However, they differ in the number of benefits they provide urban tree growth.

Structural soil is a commonly used medium that’s compacted under a pavement system to give structural support, creating only small void spaces for tree roots to grow. It’s made up of 80% gap-graded levels (crushed stones) and 20% soil.

Since structural soil has fewer minerals and nutrients, urban trees planted in it often suffer from weak roots and restricted growth.

What are soil cells?

Soil cells, on the other hand, are purpose-designed urban landscape solutions which equip trees with suitable soil conditions that enable them to flourish without causing damage to local infrastructure.

Soil cells also provide non-compacted soil volumes and an on-site stormwater management system that protects trees from damage.

What are the advantages of soil cells vs structural soil and sand?

Citygreen participated in a study called, “Comparison of Soil Treatments Under Concrete Pavement”.

The research examined the capabilities of structural soil and soil cells in providing root growth space for trees in urban areas.

The study found that soil cells are a superior choice in city environments because of the following advantages:

  • Uncompacted soil within soil cells grows the largest and healthiest urban trees in a shorter timeframe.
  • Soil cells enable the maximum root spread and depth.
  • Soil cells support the weight of tree parts.
  • Soil cells ensure the moisture content of the soil is maintained.

For years, Citygreen has invested in research and innovative development initiatives to explore the challenges, the causes of failure and the reasons for the premature mortality of urban trees.

Through it, we created effective soil vault systems that serve as the most viable solution to help build greener cities.

Download for free an extensive report on Comparison of Soil Treatments Under Pavements here.