Have you ever wondered why communities are working tirelessly to reduce stormwater pollution? In this video, we’ll delve into the importance of this issue and explore how trees play a crucial role in mitigating the adverse effects of stormwater. This is part of the Penn State Extension’s stormwater basics education series.
Why we need to Manage Stormwater
When rainfall washes across streets, parking lots, driveways, and lawns, it collects various pollutants such as gas, oil, heavy metals, sediment, pesticides, fertilizers, and chemicals. Unfortunately, these contaminants end up polluting our precious streams, rivers, and lakes. Moreover, paved surfaces prevent rainfall from infiltrating into the soil, resulting in local flooding during rain events.
The Positives of Trees for Stormwater Management
- Natural Umbrellas: Trees act as giant green umbrellas during rainfall. Their leafy canopies intercept raindrops that would otherwise wash down paved surfaces. Depending on the tree’s size, a significant portion of rainfall doesn’t even reach the ground, as it evaporates from the leaves after the storm. This canopy also slows down rainfall, reducing local flooding.
- Root Systems Improve Infiltration: Trees possess deep and extensive woody root systems that enhance rainfall penetration into the soil, a process called infiltration. These roots create channels and organic matter in the soil, allowing water to percolate, recharge groundwater, and reduce surface runoff. Think of soil as a sponge that absorbs and holds water quickly.
The Negative of Trees for Stormwater Management
- Maintenance Challenges: While trees offer numerous benefits, they require regular maintenance, including pruning and care to ensure they continue to function optimally in stormwater management. Neglecting their upkeep can lead to overgrown canopies and root systems that may interfere with infrastructure.
- Tough Growing Conditions: Trees and urban settings generally don’t mix. Trees thrive in uncompacted soil where tree roots can grow in the empty space and access the nutrients, water, and oxygen the space provides. In urban settings soil needs to be highly compacted due to the load requirements of surrounding infrastructure such as roads, pavements, and buildings.
Research has demonstrated the impressive impact of trees on stormwater management. For instance, large deciduous trees can capture over a thousand gallons of stormwater each year in their canopies. Evergreens or conifers, with their year-round leaves, can capture even more. In a study, soils with trees allowed 10 inches of rain to infiltrate per hour, while nearby lawn-covered soils could only manage 4 inches per hour.
Furthermore, trees act as natural water pumps, removing stormwater from the soil through their extensive root systems and using it for growth and photosynthesis. During the summer, large trees can transpire between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day, aiding in the purification of water and reducing pollution.
Additionally, trees contribute to a process known as phytoremediation, where they absorb and store pollutants found in runoff, preventing them from polluting our water sources.
Overall, trees are invaluable in the fight against stormwater pollution. Their natural canopy intercepts rain, their root systems enhance infiltration, and they even contribute to cleaning up contaminated soils. Trees offer a multitude of benefits, including stormwater reduction, shade, energy conservation, air pollution removal, increased property values, and enhanced aesthetics. Communities worldwide can harness the power of these “green umbrellas” by preserving existing trees and strategically planting new ones around homes, streets, and waterways. The benefits of this simple action extend far beyond stormwater management, making it a win-win for both communities and the environment.
Smart, affordable stormwater management for green-blue cities
Water is one of our most precious commodities, but the global supply is diminishing. In warm climates like Arizona, Nevada, California and Australia, water scarcity is real. As demand for water increases, so does the need for to manage stormwater and irrigation technologies. In recent years, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of planners, architects and engineers seeking landscape solutions that conserve natural resources. That’s where Citygreen comes in.
Our revolutionary range of stormwater management solutions includes water harvesting tree pit systems, rain troughs and surface drains that make it easier –and more affordable–to manage and re-use stormwater.
“Cost-effective and simple to install.”
–Justin Pay, Civil Engineering Manager from Inverell Shire Council
Why Build Green-Blue Cities to Manage Stormwater?
In the past, urban planners have treated “green” assets (trees, parks and gardens) and “blue” assets (water) separately. However, when cities combine green and blue infrastructure using Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), they can achieve multiple objectives:
- Reduce flood risks by minimizing the amount of stormwater entering underground drains
- Reduce the demand on potable water sources
- Reduce stress on the existing water supply and associated delivery infrastructure
- Reduce pollution of local creeks, lakes and bays by managing stormwater runoff
- Reduce the costs associated with traditional stormwater management methods
At Citygreen, we help you achieve all this and more. We even go one step further by putting harvested water to good use with our unique Strataflow treepit system.
How to Leverage Stormwater with Strataflow
Most people know that stormwater can be used to irrigate trees. But did you know that treepit soil can be used for stormwater treatment and management? Or that trees can directly reduce stormwater runoff by capturing rainfall in their canopy?
The link between managing stormwater and promoting healthy tree growth is strong, and we leverage this with Strataflow – our innovative water harvesting solution. Adapted from our leading structural soil cell system, Strataflow intercepts water at the source. By capturing stormwater as it hits the pavement, then directing it into structural soil vaults, Strataflow delivers water to trees in the same way as nature. It’s the ultimate dual-purpose solution for modern, green-blue cities.
“The structural integrity of the cell holds up the concrete above. It doesn’t allow the roots to get out of the cell zone and start interfering with stormwater.”
–Barry Heffer,Regional Manager (North Queensland) from NaturForm
Let Citygreen Tailor your Solution
Citygreen are the global leaders insustainable urban landscape solutions. No matter what challenges you’re facing, our team can tailor a solution to help you manage stormwater, achieve WSUD goals and create a green-blue city.
We offer modelling and design services, as well as onsite technical advice, to ensure your project runs smoothly. Here are some recent projects that showcase our products and services.
THOMSON FAMILY PARK IN CALGARY
THE MONDO – CIVIC ART PRECINCT IN PENRITH
THE LEVEE MALL IN MAITLAND
“Citygreen is a great company who are happy to meet onsite and are easy to communicate with. Their knowledge of their products ensures the installation process goes smoothly and the results of the project speak for themselves.”
–Corey Milton, Lake Macquarie City Council
Get in touch
Looking for a cost-effective and sustainable stormwater solution? We’d love to support your next project. Call 888-999-3990 (USA and Canada), or 1300 066 949 (Australia), or contact us for an obligation-free consultation. We have offices and distributors around the world.
“Great customer service, quick response times and a very in depth QA system with constant support.”
“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.”
“Citygreen offered training and invaluable technical assistance during the works.”
“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.”
“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.”
"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!"