Posted On: August 14, 2015

Mad. Sq. Hort: Tree Protection

Urban environments can often be stressful for trees, as they struggle to find the air, light, and water that they require in order to thrive. Pedestrian and mechanical traffic compact soils, buildings, and pollution interrupt light absorption, while liquids are often re-directed to sewers instead of soil.

Unbeknownst to most, dirt facilitates the transportation of air and H2O within plants, which is then absorbed through tiny root hairs that, burrowing through the soil, search for more water, oxygen, and nutrients. Soils that are compacted, however, no longer have the tiny pore spaces that regulate these water levels: these soils may not drain, or they may become hydrophobic, preventing water from passing through.

In an effort to address some of these conditions in pedestrian areas within the Park, we have installed porous pavement around one of our Pin Oaks on the West Gravel. While this pavement in particular may look like colored asphalt, it also contains large pore spaces that enable flowing water transport. Furthermore, it better distributes the weight of pedestrian traffic, allowing our garden staff to water trees in demanding summer months. Trees are a great investment for the future, and through them Madison Square Park is able to look towards greater sustainability.