Under the sweltering heat, taking shade under a huge tree by the sidewalk seems to be the perfect solution. On a rainy day without an umbrella, taking shelter under the tree seems to be the temporary way to keep dry - be careful of lightning though! At the park, we breathe in the fresh air surrounded by a line of giant trees protecting us from the sun.
Worldwide, Singapore is often known as a ‘garden city’ from a promise made by the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew to transform Singapore into a city of lush greenery. Without realising, the presence of trees already plays a massive role in our lives, providing us with a myriad of environmental, economic and social benefits while setting a good foundation for a more sustainable city.
Trees along the street of houses
Advantages of Tree Grates
While the trees protect us, what protects the trees? More often than not, we fail to notice the equally important presence of tree grates that consistently keep the trees around us in check and prevent them from getting damaged. Let us take a look at how tree grates can make a difference in protecting trees.
Before going into the advantages of using tree grates, let us first understand what it is and how it impacts the growing process of trees. Tree grates are usually decorative grilles placed over an excavated area designed for trees’ roots, also known as tree pits. Water and air will be able to reach the soil through the grates’ perforation and ensure that the tree receives enough nutrients to grow. At the same time, the slits of the grates are narrow to avoid any unwanted trash from falling through and contaminating the soil.
An example of trees without grates uprooting the pavers and posing dangers
Apart from the advantages of using tree grates mentioned above, two other purposes include helping avoid soil compaction and ensuring that the roots of urban street trees do not block the path. Tree grates act as additional protection to prevent pedestrian traffic from tripping over the tree roots. With the grates in place, no one will get hurt, and the roots will also be protected from accidental damage. Moreover, the tree grates provide a more levelled surface over the tree roots while allowing more water to enter through the grate into the soil.
Another important reason we need to protect trees is that they play a valuable role in flood management. Specially designed tree grates that span across longer sections along sidewalks can help with air and water flow. Rainwater runoff can be diverted to provide more nutrients for the city trees. The twisting tree roots in the soil under the pavement ensure that the extra water received during heavy storms can permeate the soil to manage flooding on streets.
However, we often do not realise that the trees have to endure harsh circumstances such as its paved surroundings and increasing microclimatic temperatures to survive in the urban environment. This is because urban city trees evolve from natural forest settings. As such, tree grates do play an essential role in their growth and survival in the city area.
People riding bicycles on a road with street trees
Tree grates protect these trees against harsh urban surroundings that can otherwise make their existence nearly impossible. They ensure that there is sufficient space for the tree to grow while providing space for pedestrian traffic flow over the tree planting area. Tree grates also help suppress pesky weeds from growing and taking up the nutrients made available for the urban trees.
Lastly, when it comes to choosing the suitable tree grates to implement, do not worry as there is a myriad of options available to choose from. Tree grates come in different sizes and patterns for a more aesthetic addition to the urban area. Take a look at Jonite’s tree grates that can not only help protect trees, but also add variety and colours to our surroundings. The final design ultimately depends on the urban landscape design, considering factors such as the anticipated vehicle traffic, location and its integration with the ground root management. Indeed, tree grates blend artistic forms with functionality to manage stormwater and ensure safe sidewalks for people from all walks of life.
Jonite's tree grates blend in with its surroundings to create a more aesthetic look
As we move towards improving sustainability in the city, it is important to appreciate and take good care of the trees around us. Trees provide fresh air for us to breathe in while overcoming many obstacles away from their natural forest habitat in order to grow and become more accustomed to the urban area. Without a doubt, through the implementation of tree grates, we can now begin the process of successfully integrating urban forests into our city environments.