Greening Canada’s roadways

Did you know… the typical lifespan of a tree along a major roadside is only five to 10 years?

Trees are often planted alongside roads or in urban areas to beautify the landscape and provide natural habitats. Many struggle to survive and rarely reach full maturity. That’s because soils are often compacted with low organic matter, trees are exposed to salt and pollution, there is no after-planting care, and not every species can grow in this setting.

Research trials conducted throughout Ontario and Alberta by Vineland scientists over several years have focused on how to build an ecological environment that can withstand lack of water and care, tolerate pollution and weed competition. This led to the development of species selection guidelines and best management practices for soil remediation that dramatically improves tree survival.

Impact at a Glance

  • Extraordinary tree survival rates of almost 100 per cent compared to standard plantings with a 45 per cent survival rate
  • 66 per cent higher carbon sequestration levels, equal to taking four times as many cars off the road as standard plantings
  • Four times more storm water runoff intercepted than standard plantings
  • Three times more water available per acre than standard plantings due to higher soil organic matter

*Published 2018

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