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Parking lot islands

Parking lot island size     Good examples   See: Planting area guidelines See: Poor examples

The concept of planting individual islands in parking lots should be mostly abandoned. In most cases they are not designed large enough to support long-tem tree growth. Instead, trees should be planted in linear soil strips at least eight feet wide (see below).

This provides better tree growth by allowing roots from several trees to use the same soil space. Canopies of round and spreading trees provide significant shade to pavement in this type of design. parking lot island illustration

Alternatively, you could plant small trees in a large number of small islands. Their combined canopies could cast significant shade. Islands can be connected by strips of soil covered with open paver blocks to allow penetration of air and water. Exposing more soil to the air generally enhances tree growth, especially if you can design the site to prevent pedestrians from walking directly on the soil.