The benefits of Pocket Woodlands® designs are many!
Cost savings – long and short term
It is much less costly to bring soil to a site and plant trees and shrubs into a raised soil area than it is to follow traditional methods of city planting which is to plant the tree at level with existing grades. Planting younger specimens means they will establish more successfully and quickly and this leads to further cost savings as younger trees are less expensive to buy. Younger trees have far higher survival rates and these higher survival rates mean greatly reduced replacement costs over the first 20 years when typically, 50% of trees planted in cities die (for many reasons, which are avoided with berm planting).
Healthy trees/higher survival rates
By focusing on providing continual aeration to the soil through the use of a berm and healthy soil, we enable the roots of newly planted trees to establish rapidly and thus be able to find the air, nutrients and water needed for above ground growth to quickly occur. A Pocket Woodlands® design has close planting spaces and a range of understory shrubs which give immediate visual interest and importantly, shade to the surface of the berm to cool the soil below. A berm drains well – often trees planted in traditional pits suffer from periodic drowning and as a consequence, low oxygen levels. These vigorous root systems will explore all available soils and so live far longer lives than happens presently in many city plantings. Such trees are also far more stable and able to resist strong winds and prolonged dry spells.
Health benefits for humans
Crime rates drop by 11% or more in treed areas of a community. Walking and being outdoors increases dramatically with a resultant increase in wellness and social connection. Beneficial chemical scents from trees have a positive impact on health and well-being which is now supported by studies. Suicide rates drop and children play outdoors. Traffic speeds slow and consequently, so does the frequency of accidents.
Inexpensive cooling for cities
Shade provided by the overhead canopy is the obvious benefit but in addition, the natural evaporation of water from the leaves to cool the tree also requires the absorption of heat energy from the air to change the water into gas (latent heat factor). By planting trees closer together than traditional planting distances, canopies form far more quickly as we see in naturally occurring woodlands.
Bringing nature to our homes and streets
Children are fascinated by all forms of life and so when we have healthy trees nearby, nature comes to where we live and subsequently the grown-ups also become reconnected to their outside spaces. Nature will adapt to cities when we provide them the trees and shrubs that are safe places for nests and foraging. Nature responds to the seasons and we have the pleasure of watching these transformations.
Global climate benefits
Trees are the most inexpensive solution to cooling the land surface and each country is now recognizing these benefits and planting forests again. Trees also remove pollutants from the air we breathe. However, how to grow trees in cities is an emerging skill with very site-specific requirements. How do we give these living life-forms that are long-lived, tall and have potentially extensive canopies, the means to live in our heavily engineered spaces? We do so by recognizing the function of roots and what their needs are. Meeting these needs will give trees the health required to become the presence we desire, one which will cool our living spaces and create a healthier human population.
Connection across cultures
All countries and cultures have a common goal of increasing canopy coverage. However, in cities we haven’t had the replant success needed. This is for many reasons, but it is primarily due our focus on engineering solutions, rather than on how roots grow. All cultures want to be able to live as closely with trees as possible – using a Pocket Woodlands design makes that universal desire become a reality in any and every city. How to grow and care for local trees then becomes the success story that will be the connecting language for all city people around the world. Trees are that starting point.
New city design/engineering opportunities
When we focus on how root systems grow, then we are looking below ground. A Pocket Woodlands design can be of any area and height and so be situated wherever desired or needed. The benefits will be mutually beneficial – localized drainage and storm water management systems, access points to underground services, healthy public spaces for local use (vendors and community activities), friendly design of traffic and public movement,