Urban Soils: Contamination and Urban Trees

Creating Healthy Communities, Trees for Energy Conservation April 26, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

Soil can be contaminated by masonry, wood, paper, asphalt, paint, fuel, cement, oil, salt, or other materials. Contamination may occur across an entire site, such as an industrial property, or in spots, such as concrete washouts and refueling areas. This damage can also occur in the backyards of homes when cat litter or engine oil is dumped, or where there has been excessive use of pesticides and herbicides.

Soil contamination often reduces aeration and water infiltration and sometimes may kill tree roots. Keep this in mind when choosing a planting site to avoid soil problems that will affect successful tree growth and development,

Soil decontamination work on a restoration site. Photo Credit: US Environmental Protection Agency


To learn this content and more for volunteer hours and a certificate of completion, enroll in eLearn Urban Forestry at campus.extension.org!


By:  Ed Macie, Regional Urban Forester, USFS Southern Region

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.