Site Assessment and Design

When community trees are planted, it is often in sites that are much less suitable for tree growth than in native forests. Trees within developed communities are often exposed to human-induced stresses such as air pollution, elevated temperatures, compacted soils, road salt, and confined spaces. Because healthy community trees are the foundation of healthy urban forests, proper selection of tree species and planting sites is crucial. Careful planning ensures that the “right tree” is established in the “right place", reducing the risk of plants outgrowing a site, damaging roads, foundations, or sidewalks, or trees' susceptibility to diseases and insect infestations. The following resources will help assess your site and develop tree friendly designs.

Site Assessments

Right Tree, Right Place provides questions to take into consideration when choosing a tree species and planting site.

Vermont Tree Selection Guide offers a detailed site assessment sheet.

The Arbor Day Foundation's Right Tree in the Right Place webpage provides simple guidance on tree site assessment.  

Tree Friendly Designs

Sustainable SITES is a rating system and comprehensive tool for guiding and measuring landscape sustainability.

The Road to a Thoughtful Street Tree Master Plan is a practical guide to systematic planning and design.

Urban Forestry Watershed Manuals are a three-part series on using trees to protect and restore urban watersheds. 

Part 1: Methods for Increasing Forest Cover in a Watershed

Part 2: Conserving and Planting Trees at Development Sites

Part 3: Urban Tree Planting Guide