Trees planted in small pits on 124 Street near 106 Avenue. Larry Wong / Postmedia
Life can be nasty, brutish and short for Edmonton’s street trees, stuck growing in small tree pits between a sidewalk and a heavily-compacted road.
Starved of space to spread their roots, 85 trees on 124 Street died in the past three years alone, 40 per cent of the tree canopy. The others are scrawny. Planted years ago, they still give almost no shade or any of the other benefits that come with a mature canopy such as cleaner air, increased oxygen and reduced stormwater runoff.
Fortunately, new technology is starting to make a difference elsewhere. Small plastic tables stacked underground and filled with good, un-compacted soil can give the trees the space they need, even under the sidewalk or parking space.