Below is an original statement from the University Arboretum Committee concerning the use of vehicles in Stadium Woods and its effect on soil compaction and tree health:
October 18, 2012
Dr. Sherwood Wilson
Vice President for Administrative Services (0182)
248 Burruss Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Dear Dr. Wilson:
Given the recent discussions, protests, and press coverage concerning the parking of the football players prior to home games along the east side of Stadium Woods, the University Arboretum Committee thought it wise to have a position statement on this practice/policy.
1. The University Arboretum Committee opposes the practice/policy of using the east side of Stadium Woods for parking of any sort.
2. The University Arboretum Committee does not condone driving on turf and parking near trees anywhere on campus. We understand that this is sometimes necessary for building maintenance, grounds maintenance, construction, and special events; however, tree protection guidelines developed by the Arboretum Committee should be followed during these events to prevent soil and tree damage.
3. When driving and parking on turf is unavoidable, driving and parking under tree driplines (the perimeter of the crown) should be avoided always. The extent of the dripline is a rough indicator of the extent of the root system. Encroaching on this space compacts the soil, leading to the decline and death of tree roots that reside there.
There is ample research documenting the negative impacts of driving on tree roots, and there is national consensus amongst urban forestry professionals and organizations that soil compaction is detrimental to landscape tree health. For your reference on this subject, please see:
American National Standards Institute. 2012. ANSI A300 (Part 5)–Management of trees and shrubs during site planning, site development, and construction. Londonderry, NH: Tree Care Industry Association. 21 pp.
Craul, P.J. 1994. Soil compaction on heavily used sites. Journal of Arboriculture 20(2):69-74.
Day, S.D., P.E. Wiseman, S.B. Dickinson, and J.R. Harris. 2010. Tree root ecology in the urban environment and implications for a sustainable rhizosphere. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 36(5):193-205.
Fite, K. and E.T. Smiley. 2008. Best management practices: managing trees during construction. Champaign, IL: International Society of Arboriculture. 35 pp.
American National Standards Institute. 2011. ANSI A300 (Part 2) – Soil management a. modification, b. fertilization, and c. drainage. Londonderry, NH: Tree Care Industry Association. 20 pp.
If you would like to discuss this further with the Arboretum Committee please let us know.
John R. Seiler
Alumni Distinguished Professor
2012 Chair, University Arboretum Committee
Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation