As part of the Greening the Landscape Consortium, the City of Burlington is partnering with industry leaders at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and Lallemand Plant Care on a three-year study to assess the beneficial effects of fungi and bacteria that are added to the soil in a granular form of transplanted young trees.
The goal is to show the improved growth and survival rates of young, planted trees with fungi and soil supplements compared to trees planted without the fungi and bacteria soil supplements.
The study will be done on Tremineer Avenue and Juniper Avenue in south-east Burlington over a three-year timeframe.
Periodic updates will be posted to burlington.ca/youngtreestudy.
Why is this being done?
There is a common misconception that bigger trees grow faster and can survive a transplant better than smaller trees. This is not true.
Smaller trees that are transplanted recover from the stress of the transplanting faster than larger trees. This allows them to establish faster, often with higher rates of survival compared to large trees. By planting trees with beneficial organisms like bacteria and fungi, the likelihood of recovery from transplant stress is much higher, and so is the likelihood of success and rapid growth.
Planting trees that will survive means the City’s forestry section will not have to return to a recently transplanted area to remove a dead tree and replace it with another. This will save time and money and will help the city grow our tree canopy faster.
Steve Robinson, Manager of Forestry, said, “Planting trees is an important part of any Urban Forestry program. Ensuring these trees survive the transplant process to become established is even more important. If this is successful, we will adopt this practice for all trees planted by the City. Ensuring our transplanted trees succeed will save us money and time, and help us establish strong, mature trees more quickly.”
What is being added to the soil?
A mycorrhizal fungus and naturally occurring bacteria will be added to the planting area soil. Both additives are naturally found in the soil and not harmful to plants, animals, people or the environment.
The fungus, which can form a mutually beneficial relationship with the tree roots and expands the trees access to water, is naturally found in undisturbed, non-urban soils.
The bacteria help to unlock additional nutrients in the soil to help tree root development and recover from transplant shock.
“I love the collaborative nature of the consortium. We find that so many different groups including municipalities, industry partners, and tree nurseries are asking the same questions about our trees. It’s wonderful how we can all band together, pooling our resources and know-how, to identify what we can do better for our urban forests,” Rhoda DeJong, Director, Plant Responses and the Environment, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre said.
Adriana Kairiss, Marketing Manager, North America, Lallemand Plant Care, said, “This collaboration is a great example of not only planting trees but ensuring their survival for the benefit of future generations. It is always a pleasure to work with partners who are committed to implementing urban forest health strategies using microbial based solutions.
About the Greening the Landscape Consortium
The Greening the Landscape Consortium is an inter-disciplinary group made of members from all different areas of the urban tree value chain, including nurseries who supply the trees for out planting, industry partners that develop soil amendments, municipalities who want to improve their urban forests, and industry groups, among others. The Consortium leads urban greening research by setting priorities reflecting industry needs and supporting economic success for plant growers, urban foresters, and plant healthcare professionals. As consortium members, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre will be responsible for ongoing tracking, statistical analysis, and communication of the study findings to other consortium members; Lallemand Plant Care will be providing the beneficial bacteria product for testing; and the City of Burlington will be responsible for site and species selection as well as act as an ongoing liaison with members of the local neighborhood.