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Urban areas across the globe continue to strain under more settlement. According to the UN, 55% of the world’s population lives in towns and cities. This number will rise to 68% by 2050 to pose a huge problem for urban planners who have to guarantee safe and healthy living conditions.
Over the last three decades, the idea of green cities has emerged as authorities race to provide the best conditions for their residents. Among the most common techniques used in such urban areas is the planting of trees. Trees are no longer an afterthought in urban planning but have become a key component of these landscapes.
But how do you protect trees amidst the fast-rising concrete jungles? This is where innovative building technology comes in handy. Tree grates are now common across all cities in the country, and they not only provide an aesthetic touch to the landscaping but play a crucial role in the protection of trees.
With time, the tree outgrows the grating system and this is counterproductive. The grate system might end up hurting the same tree it’s supposed to protect. For this reason, you have to factor expansion of the tree grate during its installation. This ensures the tree grate doesn’t hurt the tree.
This post explores the role tree grating plays and looks at creative ideas for expansion of the grating system.
The Place of Tree Grates in Urban Landscaping
Trees thrive in their natural habitats, whether in forests or woodlands. When planted in urban areas, trees face unique challenges and many of them die before maturity. A quick look across many towns and cities also reveals many stunted and vandalized trees. If left to their own devices, a tree will hardly survive in the extreme urban conditions.
There’s the ever-present danger of damage by foot traffic, vandalism and vehicle accidents. There’s also the risk of damage to roots caused by foot traffic, de-icing salts and other pollutants. Landscapers use tree grating systems to protect the roots from physical damage while also promoting natural root growth.
With the grate covering at the bottom of the tree, it’s easy for roots to spread without causing any harm to pedestrians. These landscaping installations also protect the root from foot traffic while also allowing water and air to circulate easily.
Foot traffic around the root area constricts water and air circulation and this can stunt a tree’s growth. A tree grate helps to keep the soil loose to allow for natural water and airflow. Trees featuring these grates look better because they have the nourishment they require to thrive.
At the same time, urban landscapers can choose from the variety of tree grates at Jonite to improve the appearance of their towns and cities. These landscape installations enhance the aesthetics of towns and cities. Cast-iron tree grates come in all shapes and designs and you can easily customize them to blend with the environment.
Expanding Tree Grates for Healthier Trees
Some of the materials used to make tree grates include concrete, cast-iron and natural stone. These are durable and versatile materials but there’s one big problem in their application for tree grates. Over time, the tree outgrows grating systems which presents a big problem for landscapers.
As roots expand, they lift the grates and this can cause accidents along sidewalks. Worse still, the expanding roots can suffer damage in the process and this affects the tree. New designs in metal and concrete tree grates have helped cope with this problem.
The best quality tree grates on the market are flexible to allow for expansion. The unique patterns you might notice on these grates have a practical purpose. As the tree grows, landscapers can cut a ring or two of the pattern to allow more room for both the trunk and the roots.
The ring grating design that’s common today means you will continue protecting the tree at its different stages of growth. The innovative ring design allows expansion of the grate in increments which is a win-win for everyone.
The tree continues to enjoy protection from the grating without any damage to the roots or the trunk. At the same time, there’s no risk posed to pedestrians by lifted grates. For the landscaper, expanding the grating system ensures the landscaping remains neat without any protruding roots or lifted tree grates.
To expand your tree grate, here are the steps to follow:
- Inspect the tree’s root system and determine the space needed for healthy growth.
- Mark the inner rings that you need to remove to allow good root growth.
- Use a portable hard wheel grinder with an abrasive wheel cut off the thinner portions of the grate.
- In the thicker sections of the grill, cut halfway with the grinder. When supporting the scored casting, use a heavy hammer to break off the scored section.
- Check around the trunk and roots to confirm there’s enough space for growth.
Tree grates are critical in promoting healthy urban tree growth. They prevent physical damage while ensuring the tree gets adequate water and air. Expanding the tree grates over time is a crucial landscaping maintenance task to give enough room for the tree trunk and roots to thrive.