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New LEED for '09

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is revamping the commercial rating system for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which will debut in Jan. 2009 (

Bernard Walsh, RLA, writes:

LEED credits for landscaping should include the following:

  • Shade trees located for maximum future shading of buildings.
  • Shade tree coverages of impervious parking areas as a percentage, thus reduction in "hot areas."
  • Reduction in percentages of lawn areas with credit ranges from say 60 percent to 30 percent; the maximum being 0 percent.
  • More natural native vegetation areas requiring no irrigation as a percentage of the site.
  • Specifying drought-tolerant grasses or ground covers.
  • Specifying interlocking pavers with grass plugs.
  • Screening and shading of above ground AC compressors.
  • Specifying organic fertilizers.
  • Specifying shredded recycled-wood mulch. Many projects exceed 120 yards of mulch.
  • Specifying irrigation watering two times a week.
  • Specifying separate irrigation zones for shrubs and turf areas.

I hope this helpful and look forward to being LEED certified.

Bernard Walsh, RLA
Principal Landscape Architect
Walsh & Walsh


Dear Landscape Online,

Your July 22 issue (email newsletter) is another outstanding issue in a long line of them!!! BIG kudos to you for providing timely, interesting information!!!!

Gina Tedesco
PR Manager
The Morton Arboretum

"Best" Trees

Re: "Best Trees for the Street"
[] in which scientist John Hammond of the Agricultural Research Service (the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency) announced the findings of a four-year project to determine the "best trees" to use in urban spaces.

Alan Siewert writes:

I was disappointed with the (study). Tree selection is the one time we have to build a good urban forest. Selecting the right tree for the right site not only for size suitability but also for survival is of utmost importance. Street tree selection must take into account diversity of the population and survivability of the plant in the chosen site. Flower color and fall color are personal choices, different for everyone. City trees are city infrastructure, so who gets to decide what looks nice? Everyone will not be happy. Blacktop can be colored and given pattern but on a city street it is black because that is economically best for the community. We need to get past the idea that street trees are an amenity to make the community look nice and realize they are a necessity for our survival in the community. If residents want red flowers or red blacktop with a nice herringbone pattern in it then they should put them in their yard. Diversity as Len Phillips has commented on, and local expertise picking the trees that are economically best for the site and community are needed. It seemed presumptuous to me that a short four-year study can pick the best street trees. The unfortunate part is homeowners intent on planting the wrong tree in the wrong location will search the Internet and find this article and use it to support their position and the urban forester will have to argue against a very good website.

Alan Siewert
Urban Forester
ODNR Forestry
Middlefiled, Ohio

Threat to Florida Habitat

The Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolius)

The University of Florida Extension says the Brazilian peppertree is an aggressive invasive species encroaching upon "all terrestrial ecosystems in central and southern Florida." Re "Tree Removal Project Upsets Neighbors" [] and the removal of Brazilian peppertrees that buffer homes in Sarasota, Fla.

Drew Kasley writes:

As a former resident of Naples, Fla. (Collier County) as well as Lee County, and as president of a landscape company that stretches from Collier to Hernando we feel the state should simply let these people know just how bad this species is.

Just the water it takes from us alone is reason to remove it. After all, that is why the Army Corps planted it in the Everglades in the first place--to dry them up. So, yes they need to do some PR and explain, yes it is a really bad species and needs to go.

The homeowners association should be taking care of the buffer, not the state. Our taxes, not that we like them, but still have to pay them, are for the good of the state, not individual neighborhoods. Build a fence, plant a native hedge.

Drew Kasley
Ocean One Properties Inc.
Spring Hill, Fla.

Re "Large Green Roof Proposed"

Hillview Reservoir may be capped with concrete and topped with a green roof.

[] in which Yonkers, N.Y. may concrete in the 90-acre Hillview Reservoir and top it with a green roof.

Chad Klever writes:

If the $1.6 billion "green" roof will prevent bird droppings from entering the unfiltered water supply, how much would an actual filtration plant cost by comparision? I would think significantly less.

This seems to be one more example of the American epidemic where the solutions are even more catastrophic than the original cause.

If you totaled the amount of toxic chemicals and airborne particulates created by manufacturing, transporting, and pouring that much concrete, you would far exceed the intended benefits of capping the reservoir.

Chad Klever
RS Wells, LLC
Centennial, Colo.

Exotic Aquatics

Re "Profile: Eric Triplett, Exotic Aquatics: Work With What You Love" []

Edward Wallace writes:

Excellent article. Congrats Eric on keeping focused and encouraging others to do the same. Taking your business and your team to the next level is a true test of a professional.

You, my friend , have passed that test with flying colors. See you on the trails of life all over the world.

Edward Wallace
Horticultural Consultant
Midwest landscaping
Long Beach, Calif.

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