Vineland’s TreeCulture Research Park is the first of its kind in Canada. This state-of-the-art facility is designed to give researchers the ability to study trees and soil under semi-controlled conditions. Most research involving trees takes place either in the field, where conditions can be quite unpredictable or in the laboratory, where researchers have to replicate real-world conditions by building and testing model systems in bench-top experiments. The TreeCulture Research Park offers the best of both worlds, allowing scientists to conduct research trials and experiments at scale, while controlling inputs and testing specific soil treatments under natural environmental conditions.
In order to understand what is unique about the TreeCulture Research Park, you have to look below the surface.
Each tree is planted into specially-designed tree compartments buried below ground and are essentially large containers filled with soil mixtures to be trialed and tested prior to use in real-world applications. The compartments measure 4.5 m x 4.5 m wide and 1 m deep, giving tree roots plenty of space to extend and grow.
All compartments are outfitted with soil sensors measuring from soil temperature, moisture and pH, to oxygen content and water availability. Sensors collect soil data continuously and transfer information to the Cloud where it is monitored and analyzed by our research team.
These 36 compartments represent phase one of Vineland’s TreeCulture Research Park project, which will include a total of 80 compartments when complete. Compartments are currently being used to test soil mixtures that have been designed to capture and store storm water in urban environments as part of a low impact development approach seeking to use storm water to help support trees in the landscape.