Effects of ground surface permeability on the growth of urban linden trees

Street trees are an important part of urban vegetation due to their provisioning of different types of ecosystem services such as local climate regulation and contribution to aesthetical and recreational values. In order to provide these services, urban trees need to endure many stress factors not present in natural environments, such as the widespread use of impervious surfaces in the vicinity of street trees. However, few studies have evaluated the effect of this potential stress factor on urban tree growth.

The aim of this study was therefore to investigate how ground surface permeability affects stem and current-year shoot growth of linden (Tilia europaea) street trees in Gothenburg, Sweden. We found that a small fraction of permeable ground surface in the vertically projected tree crown area caused lower stem growth and strongly suppressed current-year shoot growth. This finding can guide future city planning, demonstrating that the vitality of street trees is compromised when the permeable surface area in the vicinity of the tree is small.

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Last updated: 2021-06-24

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

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