Structural soil was created as a solution to high urban tree mortality rates. Street trees often have reduced lifespans, or fail to reach maturity because tree well root areas are too small for optimal root development. This is especially true for large shade trees which provide ecosystem services such as heat island reduction, stormwater uptake, and oxygen production. Planting trees is a civic investment and in order to protect that investment, optimizing root growth using systems that include structural soil are growing in favor. The challenge is finding the right mixture of content that provides enough structural support for hardscape so that it does not shift or buckle over time.
Streetscape, Plaza, Green Roof
Cornell's CU-Structural Soil® Urban Tree Planting Mix
Distributed by Minick Materials
Licensed by Amereq, Inc.
CU-Structural Soil®, patented by Cornell University’s Research Foundation, is intended for urban trees in streetscapes, sidewalks, and parking lots. When used under pedestrian paving, the soil prevents sidewalk failure due to root heave. Additionally, the soil’s porous nature provides ample root penetration for street trees, which significantly increases their life span.
Examples of this material in action:
Streetscape, McCarren Park, Brooklyn, NY, Urban Horticulture Institute,1997
Mann Library, Ithaca, NY, Urban Horticulture Institute, 2014
Find it in our Collection Database