Hell Strip Landscaping – Learn About Hell Strip Tree Planting

hell strip tree
hell strip tree
(Image credit: ziss)

In many cities, there’s a strip of lawn that runs like a green ribbon between the street and sidewalk. Some call it a “hell strip." Homeowners in the area of a hell strip are often responsible for hell strip tree planting and maintenance. If you are just getting started with hell strip tree planting, you may wonder how to pick small hell strip trees. Read on for tips on what to consider in hell strip landscaping.

Planting a Tree Next to Sidewalks

The great thing about planting a tree next to sidewalks in a hell strip is the effect it has on the neighborhood. A street lined with trees gives the street a gracious, happy look, especially if you select appropriate trees for hell strip landscaping. Remember that you are planting a tree next to sidewalks. Therefore, it’s critical to pay attention to the root action you can expect from small hell strip trees. Rowdy roots are not just a function of big trees. Even the roots of some species of small trees will raise or crack the sidewalks. That’s why it’s important to take the selection of small trees for hell strips carefully.

Small Trees for Hell Strips

Before you start hell strip tree planting, take a serious look at the conditions that your hell strip site presents. How big is the strip? What kind of soil is present? Is it dry? Wet? Acidic? Alkaline? Then you have to match this to trees that prefer the very conditions you offer. First, think about your hardiness zone. Hardiness zones are determined by coldest winter temperatures and run from 1 (very cold) to 13 (very hot). Don’t dream of planting a tree next to sidewalks in front of your house if it doesn’t thrive in your zone. Review all of the qualities you are looking for in hell strip landscaping. Then prepare a short list of possible trees. For example, if you live in USDA zone 7, you want a tree that does well in zone 7, tolerates urban pollution, and has roots that will not disrupt the sidewalk. The more tolerant and disease resistant the tree is, the more attractive it is for hell strip landscaping. Drought resistant trees are ideal for hell strip tree planting, since they won’t take as much maintenance.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.