Why Trees Die in Parking Lots and What You Can Do About It

why trees die in parking lots jpg

In Calgary, parking lot trees are often a sorry sight and require replacement every few years.

If that sounds expensive to you, you’re right.

Why not take just a portion of that money to give your parking lot trees their best chance to thrive?

Here is what we recommend:

1. Reverse the negative effects of winter

Calgary’s winters can be harsh. Many places will make use of salt chemicals to manage snow and ice build-up. Oils, coolants, and other chemicals take their toll as well. Some snow removal contractors will create snow piles around trees which can completely kill a tree.

We recommend having a year-round vision for your property that includes routine dilution of harmful chemicals from the soil surrounding trees in the spring, and ensuring snow is piled in places where it will not impact trees, shrubs, or plants.

Psst… Should you create snow piles anyway? It may cost you more than you think. Read more about that here

2. Choose the right tree species

Certain species of trees are more salt tolerant, require less water, and respond better to pruning that allows for pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Among other issues with improper species selection, property maintenance crews will often cut these roots, which in turn damage or kill the tree. Our certified arborists provide tree design consultation to help builders select the right species for their property. Read more at lecm.ca/trees

3. Plan for irrigation

Dry seasons and lack of water are detrimental to healthy tree growth–especially in the first few years. A simple irrigation setup can save time and money while delivering the right amount of moisture to your trees, shrubs, and plants. Our experienced crews can work with new builds or add irrigation to existing landscaping. Read more at lecm.ca/irrigation.  Also, trees need watering starting in April.  Read more about why, when, how much, and where here.

4. Allow room to grow

If you’re planning a new parking lot, avoid narrow strips of landscaping if you can. Instead, consider combining narrow strips into wider landscape features to allow sufficient space for tree roots to grow without impacting surrounding asphalt and concrete surfaces. If that’s not possible, consider using a structured soil product (like CU-Structural Soil) that provides the compaction strength needed for concrete or asphalt but lets tree roots grow through it as well.

5. Keep them healthy

Not much is required to ensure that the soil around your plants is healthy. Top-up plant areas with nutrient-rich compost and organics (read more about our compost facility here) and surround your trees with mulch. Read more about the incredible benefits of mulch here. If you have the budget, surround your treed areas with protective curbs to separate organic and non-organic areas.

We Are Here to Help!

Our team consists of experienced landscape designers and certified arborists. We would love to help you design your parking lot spaces so that they are attractive and contribute to the overall first impression of your property for the long-term.

Contact Us for more information.