Regenerative Tree Planting Design

regenerative planting design

Urban planting in a regenerative style

Regenerative planting is about getting back to basics and working with Nature's own methods. Street tree planting is becoming an increasingly complex affair, especially where large trees are concerned. In complex, high value landscapes and developments this is the correct way to proceed, but for other, lower-priority areas, I think there is another way we can approach things which would be more cost-effective and give us the ability to plant more trees. This can be combined with SUDS or raingarden design.

Nature regenerates new growth very quickly whenever space is created and there is always a range of pioneer species to hand to fill such gaps. Broken ground is quickly colonised.

natural regeneration of birch trees

natural regeneration of birch trees

Breaking up concrete and adding minimal amounts of soil is all we need for young bare-root trees (such as 1+1 transplants) to grow away. Planting communities make their own ecologies, build up their own soils. Underplantings of appropriate forbs and grasses deliver weed control and sequester carbon into the soil via their roots. This methodology is for planting in groups, rather than for single street trees.

Such plantings are managed, rather than maintained, just as a woodland is managed. This is a lower-intensity approach which treats clumps of trees as a copse, rather than a group of individuals. It seems simple yet is something of a departure from orthodox planting methods; I hope to prove this as a viable way of greening certain sectors of the built environment.