Tree Soil Cells - LFUCG Stormwater Infrastructure Project

Grants and Contracts Details


Abstract This project is being proposed by the University of Kentucky to strategically utilize urban trees to reduce stormwater volume and improve stormwater quality through the installation of up to 30 soil cell in high- impact locations. Soil cells provide adequate soil volume for trees that are integrated with campus hardscapes and protect the root zone and health of the trees by preventing compaction. More than half of the UK campus is impervious surface, so taking innovative steps to ensure the longevity and growth of these trees while reducing stormwater runoff is critical to the improvement of the overall LFUCG stormwater system. The project identified two sites for the soil cell, a priority location of approximately two acres of surface parking located north of Memorial Coliseum/Craft Center, and an alternate location for trees around Kroger field. The soil cells will facilitate a reduction in stormwater volumes and improve stormwater quality through stormwater interception and evapotranspiration and long-term infiltration. For example: A tree with a 25-foot diameter canopy and associated soil can manage the 1-inch rainfall from 2,400 square feet of impervious surface. Based on a study by The Great Lakes Restorative Initiative, it can be estimated that 59 gallons/tree of runoff reduction, from tree infiltration, will benefit the overall stormwater system. The amount of impervious surface replaced by a soil cell is estimated at 720 to 1080 sf per tree. The Project will also have strong educational value and will be aligned with the University’s mission, vision, values and strategic plan. Toward this end, the project may be integrated with several courses and programs in the Colleges of Design and Agriculture. UK will partner with internal and external stakeholders to develop and provide educational workshops for students and the public that highlight the benefits of the tree soil cells. The proposal also includes a research design that will evaluate how the trees and soils in the soil cells compare with two control conditions – open-growth trees and trees planted in constrained urban environments.
Effective start/end date4/27/234/26/25


  • Lexington Fayette Urban County Government: $360,000.00


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