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Sources for More Information

Bulletin #5: Living with Urban Soils


The most comprehensive source of soil information is found at the website of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

In California, a helpful site is available from UC—Davis.

Many other helpful websites are available by searching online for “trees and urban soils.”


One excellent book that focuses especially on urban soils and their relationship to trees is:

Arboriculture–Integrated Management of Landscape Trees, Shrubs, and Vines
Richard W. Harris, James R. Clark and Nelda P. Matheny

Some that are particularly helpful are:

  • Urban Soils: Application and Practices, by Phillip J. Craul.
  • Understanding Soils in Urban Environments, by Pam Hazelton and Brian Murphy.
  • Managing Soils in an Urban Environment, by R. S. Brown
  • Up by Roots, by James Urban.
When ordering a book online, please use to donate 0.5 percent of your purchase to supporting the conservation and education programs of the Arbor Day Foundation.

The International Society of Arboriculture has a number of publications related to soils and the protection of tree roots. These include:

  • Trees and Development, by Nelda Matheny and James R. Clark
  • The Landscape Below Ground I & II, (compendiums of workshop presentations)
  • Soil Management for Urban Trees, (A Best Management Practice supplement to ANSI A300)

To order ISA publications, phone 217-355-9411 or visit

Leaflets and Booklets

The following “class handout” contains a large amount of information condensed into a few number of pages. It is well illustrated and contains useful lists such as symptoms of nutrient deficiencies and soil requirements for specific species. Individual copies are available at cost from Dr. Schultz:

Soils and Tree Growth, by Richard C. Schultz ([email protected])
Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011

An illustrated information sheet is available online from Cornell University: Understanding What’s Underfoot by Amanda Garris with illustrations by Olivia McCandless.

Magazine Articles

  • Developing Productive Soils in the Residential Setting by Sylvia McNeill. February 2017 Tree Care Industry.
  • Tree Nutrition and Fertilization by Les P. Werner is a two-part series full of valuable information. It was featured in the July and August 2010 issues of Arborist News published by the International Society of Arboriculture.
  • Managing Soils That Support Urban Trees. June 2015 Arborist News (ISA)

Last Updated: 03/25/19

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