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A joint research project between MacEwan University and the City of Edmonton to improve the growth and survival of woody species in urban Edmonton.

In spring 2017, Dr. Karen Christensen-Dalsgaard of MacEwan University partnered with the City of Edmonton on a five-year research project with the purpose of improving the growth and survival of woody species in the Edmonton urban area.

Research Plots

The MacEwan research team is continuing work on 15 experimental plots that were established by the Anne Naeth lab from the University of Alberta in 2014. The continuation of the project will focus on the health and competitive interactions of the plants during the establishment phase. Further, the MacEwan team will visit additional naturalization sites to monitor survival of recently planted wooden seedlings in selected urban greenspaces. Several roadway and industrial naturalization areas are included.

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In addition, the team will use dendrochronological techniques (also know as tree-ring dating) on tree cookies from mature trees provided by the City to study how long-term environmental stressors affect the growth of trees in Edmonton’s urban forest.

Research Background

Learn the history of the 2014 University of Alberta and City of Edmonton partnership research. 

Research Project Objectives

Objective 1

The effect of soil treatments and amendments on the growth and survival of woody species.

Research Plots:
In 2014 and 2015, research plots were established by the Anne Naeth lab. The continuation of the project, through MacEwan University will look at the longer-term establishment phase and will take into account additional measures of health and competitive interactions.

Research Plot Locations
Fifteen existing research plots located at five different locations will be included in MacEwan University’s five year extension of the study. These include:

  • Lendrum research site
  • 91 Street research site
  • Terwillegar/Whitemud Interchange research site
  • Smith research site
  • Blackmud research site
Objective 2

A re-assessment of the growth and survival of woody species planted within selected naturalization sites within the City of Edmonton.

Results from the experimental sites will be compared to woody plant survival at seven non-experimental naturalization sites across the city. These sites will be visited to provide survival data for a period corresponding to that of the research sites, and will include the following:

Root for Trees Volunteer Planting Sites
Naturalized sites planted with native tree and shrub species by volunteers:

  • Pylypow Industrial NAT 1
  • Pylypow Industrial NAT 2
  • Satoo NAT

Roadway Operational Planting Sites
Naturalized sites planted with native tree and shrub species by professional tree planters:

  • Bergman NAT 1
  • Bergman NAT 3
  • Newton NAT
  • Montrose NAT
Objective 3

Effect of multiple simultaneous stressors on trunk growth rates: a dendrochronological investigation.

Trunk growth correlates with growth of the crown, and crown health, size, and density are important determining factors for the quality of ecosystem services provided by urban trees.

Lead by Dr. Christensen-Dalsgaard, the MacEwan group will perform dendrochronological investigations on tree cookies provided by the City to study the historical response of urban trees to fluctuations in compounded environmental stressors. These will include drought, the impact of winter conditions, and mechanical stress.

Dendrochronology (or tree-ring dating) is the scientific method of dating tree rings (also called growth rings) to the exact year they were formed in order to analyze atmospheric conditions during different periods in history.

For More Information

311 Contact Centre


In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555

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