Trees are an essential component of any great urban landscape. They not only add a touch of beauty to a property but also help urban dwellers by providing cleaner air, cool down buildings and their surroundings, and providing a natural carbon sink. Trees can affect both the micro and the microclimates of an urban area, making them an integral part of any city’s transformational plan. If you want to transform your urban property into an enduring beauty, it’s time to start planting the best trees.
However, while trees will work great for your landscape, they have to endure a harsh environment that can cause lasting damage. Trees have to withstand car accidents and vandalism, increasing microclimate temperatures, paved surroundings, exposure to de-icing salt, wind, and the reflecting glare from buildings. This is where tree grates come in handy.
If you have an urban area or property you would like to landscape, this article explores the role of tree grating, types of grates, and how to expand these installations.
Introducing Tree Grating in Urban Landscaping
A tree grate is a ubiquitous feature in most cities but most people don’t give these landscaping features a lot of thought. This is despite the fact these installations play a critical role in protecting trees from abrasion caused by bustling urban life.
The landscaping installation protects roots that would otherwise become exposed and vulnerable to damage. The grating provides an ideal pit where roots can thrive without any dangers from pedestrians, exposure to glare, de-icing salt, and other harmful materials.
Tree grilles create a greater surface area for natural or supplemental irrigation. These root coverings also facilitate better air circulation within the covered space. Tree grating protects the soil, the rooting system, and sometimes the trunk.
If trees are left to grow without this physical protection, they might not withstand the harsh urban environment. While most people enjoy the beautiful landscaping, they don’t make any efforts to protect these trees.
Other reasons to install tree gratings include:
- Enhanced aesthetics: You can choose a tree grate that increases the visual appeal of your landscape. Most of the products on the market are visually appealing and are designed to improve curb appeal. These installations are easy to customize to suit your landscaping needs.
- Improving safety: Grates also protect pedestrians against injuries that would be caused by exposed roots.
- Landscaping maintenance: Maintaining a green landscape is not easy due to litter build-up from trees. However, grates help by preventing weed build-up around the tree and also make it easier to maintain the area around the trees.
- Diverse styling options: You can choose grates in multiple sizes, shapes, materials, and designs. This makes it easier to find that perfect grating system that suits your landscape.
- Flexibility: The best grates for your trees should accommodate the tree’s growth. Expanding the tree grates is an important step in maintaining your green landscape. This gives room to your trees to thrive at their different stages of growth.
You can choose grates for your trees from different materials including cast iron tree grates, natural stone, steel, recycled plastic, concrete tree grates, and other materials.
- When choosing any tree grilles, consider:
- The durability of the material
- Theft and vandal-resistance
- ADA (Americans with disabilities act) compliance
- Ease of customization
- Eco-friendly materials
- Ease of installation and expansion
- The versatility of the tree grills for different tree species.
Steps to Expand a Tree Grate
When designing and installing a tree grate, it’s important to appreciate that the tree will continue growing. This necessitates changes to the tree grille to accommodate such growth.
If a tree grate is not expandable, it might cause more harm than good to the tree. For this reason, always assess how expandable any tree grille is before you buy it.
The best tree grills are easy to expand by removing the inner center rings. This means you can continue expanding the grates as the tree continues to grow. When shopping for a grate, look for one designed for expansion.
Here are the steps for expanding a tree grate:
- Check the rate of the tree’s growth and identify the grate rings you should cut.
- Depending on the material, use a portable hard wheel grinder with an abrasive wheel (aluminum oxide) to cut off the marked rings.
- Cut through with the wheel on thin areas of the grate casting
- For thicker areas of the grating, (including casting edges or areas with heavy support ribs) cut halfway through the casting with the grinder.
- Use a heavy hammer to remove the marked areas and they should break at the core line. Before applying the sharp blow, ensure there’s sufficient support behind the casting.
- Continue the process for all the grates and leave enough room for the tree trunk to grow.
Using trees for landscaping has both functional and aesthetical purposes. Tree grates are crucial for green landscaping as they protect your trees against physical damage. These installations fuse aesthetics with function to add visual appeal to an area while also protecting tree roots, managing floodwater and maintaining beautiful, neat and safe sidewalks. With time, you should expand these grates to allow more room for tree trunks’ growth.
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