They once populated the route along Roncesvalles. Those squared concrete tombs of solidified soil that deprived tree roots of growth, by converting them into strangled cubes of chaos. Seasonally they either exposed tender roots near their perimeters with life threatening frost, or frayed sensitive growth potential with increasing climate change patterns of urban heat effect. Concrete is a reactive mass that either holds or radiates outdoor conditions.
Continual cycles of freeze, drought, overwater, bake, traffic exhaust, trash littering, ashtrays, dog territory marking posts and yes, the occasional whiz from the post 1:00 pm bar patron… put great stress on the life expectancy of each tree.
City trees do not fair well in concrete planters.
Boxed mass plantings was an urban planning strategy from the 60’s & 70’s when the concept of even possessing a Carbon footprint was not a consideration.
Basic gardening fundamentals tell us; spread of root mass equals width of canopy. Boxed in tree containers defeat this goal. Unless you are a bonsai enthusiast or a miraculous pine clinging, wind swept Georgian Bay icon, you will not succeed with this look.
In order to encourage the eventual overhanging tree canopy, that will one day grace Roncesvalles Avenue, respect and consideration for life sustaining root spread is a must. So the boxed tree planters were eliminated. Trees, plants and all vegetation are carbon consumers. People, places, traffic and even the asphalt itself are carbon emitters. Being Carbon Neutral is all about balancing these effects.
That’s why our community’s tree canopy needed to be expanded, that’s why having trees imprisoned in concrete boxes works against this goal.
By being an innovative Toronto neighbourhood, Roncesvalles will become known as one of the first renewal projects that utilizes a newer urban street tree planting approach. Becoming pro active now, ensure a healthier tomorrow. Baby Steps!