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Street trees in Meaford have had no chance for survival because they have never been installed using current best practices. With no room for root growth and no way to get proper nutrients and water, they have been doomed from the start. With proper design provision (soil cells) and planting practices, street trees can live their full life span without heaving the sidewalk or dying from lack of food and water. Street tree species need to be carefully selected, as many will not tolerate sidewalk salt and pollution from idling and passing vehicles. Other species will thrive in spite of these challenges.

The tree-in-a-box idea is a cheap band-aid solution, no matter how quaint the picture painted by the reference to apple boxes. It may be useful as a temporary measure where real street trees are being phased in over time, but otherwise it is a bad idea. Street trees afford shade and coolth (yes – it’s a real word) and can reduce energy needed for buildings when properly sited. Anything that will survive short term in a box is only a token.

On and off for over a decade I have nagged elected officials and city management personnel to try and help shape a plan for street trees - to no avail. Proper installation of street trees is expensive, but if it were phased in over a number of years, and coordinated with other necessary excavation for infrastructure repairs and updates, costs can be both amortized and greatly reduced.

I continue to be available to input and assist. In the meantime, here is a link to one of many excellent reference sources for best practices:

I note 'Bad Idea' was not one of the voting choices, but that’s where my X would go.

Thanks again,

Thomas Dean, Meaford

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