City of Reno: Urban forestry

Project Title

Tree Root health in Reno's Diverse Soils

Research Question

Reno is home to a wide range of soils that present unique challenges for tree success. We would like to conduct a survey of root development of several species of trees that have been planted in different soil types in Reno, to hopefully shed light on better strategies for soil amendments, irrigation, and species selection in areas of reno delineated by their soil types.


The City of Reno has a tree canopy of about 5% coverage, well behind other intermountain west cities. The City has responded by allocating more funding for planting trees, but we are struggling to get trees to thrive due to several challenges, such as large variations in soil quality and type and irrigation. By identifying trees that are better suited to some of the various conditions in Reno, and identifying strategies to improve tree success, we can make progress on our goal to increase tree canopy.


We would like to receive a report that includes a map of the City broken up into a few logical areas defined by native soil types, a graph that shows fine root development in the different soil types under drip or overhead irrigation, and a report giving recommendations for species selection and cultural changes to improve tree success.

Suggested Skills

This project would be best suited to someone studying biology, plant biology, horticulture, forestry, soils, natural resources, environmental science, or similar. Able to navigate a Map. Able to take soil and root samples in the field. Able to collaborate with City GIS staff to create a soil map. Able to create graphs using computer programs. Able to work independently using good judgement and ability to make decisions. Self-starter.

Agency Representative

Matt Basile
(775) 321-8373