The influence of sidewalk replacement on urban street tree growth

Eric A. North, Anthony W. D'Amato, Matthew B. Russell, Gary R. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Interactions between tree roots and sidewalks can result in damage to sidewalks and when sidewalk damage is repaired adjacent tree roots are often severed. The objective of this study was to quantify the growth response of urban trees in restricted planting spaces pre- and post-sidewalk construction. The research included four trees species commonly planted along streets in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA. Species included were: Acer platanoides, Celtis occidentalis, Gleditsia triacanthos, and Tilia spp. Two street tree populations were sampled: trees adjacent to replaced sidewalk panels (<1.75 m) and trees on streets with sidewalk construction that were greater than 3 m from replaced sidewalk sections. In total, increment core samples from 292 trees were analyzed. Annual rings from each tree were measured and converted to basal area increment (BAI) for analysis. Comparisons of BAI were conducted between the two sample populations to assess differences in tree growth patterns. Pre- and post-sidewalk construction BAI was also evaluated to determine the influence of construction on growth trajectory. Growth response was quantified using resistance, resilience, and recovery indices. Species were found to differ in their response to construction disturbance. Planting space width was also found to influence post-construction growth. Tilia spp. had the highest resilience and fastest overall growth recovery post-sidewalk construction and A. platanoides exhibited the lowest resistance, resilience, and recovery post-sidewalk construction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-124
Number of pages9
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier GmbH


  • Annual growth
  • Basal area increment
  • Resilience
  • Root severance
  • Sidewalk construction
  • Urban forestry
  • Urban tree rings


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