“What a hassle for just one tree!”

Wat een gedoe voor één boom - GreenMax Blog

Green and infrastructure: at first glance, two completely different worlds. The green sector primarily focuses on creating and maintaining green spaces, aiming to promote a green living environment and improve biodiversity. The infrastructure sector, on the other hand, concentrates on developing and maintaining physical structures to support safety, societal well-being, and economic growth. Despite the differences between these sectors, they meet in one important common value: improving the quality of our living environment. Both sectors are indispensable in achieving this joint goal.

Planting Trees in Built Environments

Planting a tree in a built environment is not straightforward. At least, not if you want the tree to last many years and prevent damage to the surrounding infrastructure. This task requires careful planning and execution, taking into account various factors. To promote the health of the tree and protect the infrastructure, it is important that the tree is provided with aeration, watering, anchoring, root barriers, and of course, sufficient room to grow.

Factors for a Healthy Tree

All these aids might seem like ‘a lot of hassle’ for a single tree in a built environment. Yet, every effort is worthwhile. Trees need the right conditions to grow and thrive. Space for their roots, enough water, sufficient light, and protection against pollution, diseases, and extreme weather conditions. This careful management not only ensures they can survive in built environments but also allows them to make an invaluable contribution to the climate. They purify the air we breathe, provide shade and cooling on hot days, offer a habitat for other plants and animals, capture rainwater, save energy, increase property values, reduce noise pollution, and positively affect our health. Despite these significant benefits, green spaces are often cut back in practice.

The Complex Issue of Urban Trees — Stress Factor Accumulation and Ecological Service Possibilities

Source: The Complex Issue of Urban Trees—Stress Factor Accumulation and Ecological Service Possibilities (2020)

Saving Time and Labour

Investing in the right aids for trees in built environments yields significant savings in time, labour, and maintenance costs in the long run. The research “The Complex Issue of Urban Trees — Stress Factor Accumulation and Ecological Service Possibilities” (2020) even emphasizes that improving the growth conditions for trees, while also maintaining residents’ comfort and balancing costs, should be the main focus in this area in the coming years.

When trees receive the right support from planting, such as a tree bunker system, the chances of a large, strong, and healthy tree are significantly higher. This reduces the risk of diseases and premature failure, meaning the tree does not need to be replaced frequently or require intensive maintenance. Moreover, these measures prevent damage to the surrounding infrastructure, such as root pressure and broken cables and pipes due to root growth. This avoids dangerous traffic situations and exorbitant repair costs. By carefully planning and investing in the viability of green spaces in built environments in advance, cities can operate more efficiently and cost-effectively in the long term.


Photo: damaged paving due to root pressure

Integrated Approach

The need for good planning and preparation underscores the importance of an integrated approach between the green and infrastructure sectors. By combining the strengths of these sectors, it is possible to realize innovative solutions that not only support urban greenery but also improve infrastructure. This leads to a future-proof, livable environment where people enjoy living, working, and relaxing. It is a valuable investment for our future generations.

Groen en infrastructuur - GreenMax