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Stormwater Tree Pits

Tree pits illustration

Type of Development

New Development, Restoration




Long Term






Curb cuts are a significant expense and can make projects expensive.


A stormwater tree pit is dug into the sidewalk adjacent to a street and a tree is planted to absorb and filter storm runoff and flooding. The root system of trees effectively stores water and filters it into the ground, reducing pollution within waterways and reducing flooding from impervious surfaces. Openings in the curbs (that resemble cut outs from storm drains) can be used to direct runoff from roads into stormwater tree basins. Curb cuts in bulb outs can be utilitzed as well. Additionally, creating a slight barrier between tree area and human traffic to avoid compaction and trash pollution will increase durability. Native trees require less water to maintain growth. Consideration should be given to space for tree roots.

Illustration of urban ecosystem that supports biodiversity, water and soil cleaning, shade, carbon sequestration and cooling impacts.


Stormwater trees reduce flooding in urban environments, decrease urban heat, and create beautiful cityscapes.


Stormwater trees are a great alternative to stormwater management systems like drains and sewers. They filter stormwater, rainwater, and flooding into groundwater to recharge or evapotranspirate the water back into the atmosphere. They reduce urban heat through shading and evapotranspiration, as well as increasing health and wellness of citizens. They promote biodiversity and reduce air pollution by sequestering carbon. Additional benefits include reduction of traffic speed by visually narrowing roads and extending "curbs", reduced stress, increased public health, and reduced noise pollution.



Development Considerations

The cell width of the tree basin is important for root growth. Tree pits should be near common flooding areas.

Environmental Considerations

Needs sunlight, water, and space. Native trees are essential.

Maintenance Consideration

Maintenance is required within the first 5 years to ensure root stability and to fix any prominent problems.

Cost Considerations

Curb cuts are a significant expense and can make projects expensive.

Case Studies

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