Stratavault replaces ineffective tree...

Stratavault replaces ineffective tree pits in downtown Wichita, Kansas


Located on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas. It is also the city’s cultural centre and home to many musical, sporting and arts events – many of which take place in the popular Douglas Avenue district.

In 2017, Citygreen was engaged to assist in a revitalisation of this high-traffic area. The project focused on enhancing various elements of the streetscape, including bul-bouts, transit bus shelters and planter pots. It also included an assessment of the tree corridor, with a view to finding a more effective way to grow healthy, mature trees.


Project goals

A major goal for this project was to find a suitable tree pit system to supersede the existing system, in turn overcoming issues around stunted growth.

As William Wells from LK Architecture explained, “Tree wells in the downtown Wichita area are typically a four-foot square opening in the sidewalk. The existing soil is not removed and replaced with good backfill. Trees tend to last around seven years and only reach 60% of their mature size.”

“The City wanted to try a tree well system for comparison to the traditional method. With this project, trees being replaced had over-excavated tree wells with soil replacement to 3-feet. We were asked to select an alternative to the typical city installation type and identify a location for the comparison test. A large plaza between Broadway and Topeka was chosen for its large footprint.”

 Douglas Ave

Project solutions

As the first test site for the City, a suspended pavement system was recommended to ensure optimum results. Citygreen’s Stratavault soil cell system was chosen specifically for its ability to provide ample soil volume and structure.

Two layers of Stratavault were installed in a total of 11 tree pits with a matrix area of 4.35m x 5.85m. London Planetree (Platanus x Acerifolia ‘Morton Circle’) was the species of choice, selected for its moderate growth rate, attractive foliage and tolerance to harsh urban conditions.

Choosing the right system for this project was critical to ensure a fair comparison to the City’s previous tree pits. According the William from LK Architecture, Citygreen were outstanding throughout the selection process, providing technical support and friendly service.

William said, “It was easy to reach a person to talk with. The sales representative was exceptionally helpful in providing all the materials to understand the system, determine soil volumes, and produce construction details.”

Douglas Ave

During the upgrade

Douglas Ave

1 year after the upgrade

Project Outcomes

Today, one year on from the installation, the London Planetrees are healthy and growing extremely well. Loren Biggoose from Wichita Drainage and Grading explained that 10 of the 11 trees planted have been successful – and that the one tree that is stressed is due to staying materials, not the Citygreen Stratavault system.

Loren also echoed comments from William at LK Architecture regarding Citygreen’s superior service, saying, “Personal service and follow up is fantastic. And I’m now a believer in the system.”

“Great customer service, quick response times and a very in depth QA system with constant support.”

- Laura Wiesenekker, Project Engineer, Densford Civil -

“Citygreen is a very professional  business, and I found everything was great in terms of deliveries, product supply and information. It was all forthcoming and helped us to complete the project.”

- Keith Burns, Architect/Designer, Keith Burns Architect -

“Citygreen offered training and invaluable technical assistance during the works.”

- James Callan, Estimating Manager, Complex Co Pty Ltd -

“Our experience, in working with a Citygreen Design Studio was second to none. We found responses from the design studio to be very timely, and technically thorough. We went backwards and forwards a number of times, looking at different iterations of the design and, nothing was too much trouble to examine and explore different possibilities. I would highly recommend the Citygreen Design Studio to any future client considering using your services.”

- Sandra Smith, Principal Landscape Architect, City Of Monash -

“We are big on compliance on all projects, and the fact that their SmartCertify cloud platform covers all bases, and supports their 20 year warranties, is critical – especially that these pits are being installed under roadways and footpaths.”

- Johny Purkaystha, Civil Program Engineer, Central Coast Council -

"I reviewed all the previous projects that we have installed in the past couple years using your product and I can happily report back that we have 0% mortality in the soil cells, which is incredible!"

- Brendan Wilton, CEO, Trim Landscaping, Bedford, Canada -