Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

When Green Infrastructure Turns Grey: Implications of Overdesign for Plant Water Stress

Version 1 : Received: 6 September 2019 / Approved: 7 September 2019 / Online: 7 September 2019 (01:23:19 CEST)

How to cite: Tu, M.; Caplan, J.; Eisenman, S.; Wadzuk, B. When Green Infrastructure Turns Grey: Implications of Overdesign for Plant Water Stress. Preprints 2019, 2019090083 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201909.0083.v1). Tu, M.; Caplan, J.; Eisenman, S.; Wadzuk, B. When Green Infrastructure Turns Grey: Implications of Overdesign for Plant Water Stress. Preprints 2019, 2019090083 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201909.0083.v1).

Abstract

Overdesign is a common strategy used by green infrastructure (GI) designers to account for unexpected performance loss, but such a strategy can create undesirable plant responses if it decreases water availability. The seasonal and event-based stomatal conductance data of two woody plant species in a green infrastructure (GI) was analyzed. The GI is a tree trench composed of five tree pits (each one was planted with a tree) in an infiltration bed. Runoff collected from the street was supplied to the bottom of the infiltration bed, although the system never filled completely indicating there was capacity for more runoff than what was observed over 3 years and the infiltration bed was overdesigned. Between the two tree species, evidence suggested that the root system of London plane spread beyond the boundary of the GI system and reached a subsurface water source, while that of hybrid maple did not. London plane showed a slower response to water added in the tree pit soil, which can indicate the reduced dependence on GI soil water after plants have reached an alternative water source. Such reduction is not favored because it defeats the purpose of having plants in GI systems. Designs using root barriers, appropriate plant species selection, etc. are recommended to avoid unwanted root spread. This study also found that GI design relying on upward water movements should be avoided because such design creates a narrow capillary zone on top of a saturated zone, which does not encourage transpiration.

Subject Areas

leaf water potential; low impact development; stormwater control measure; tree trench; stomatal conductance; evapotranspiration; HYDRUS; simulated runoff test

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