Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Charles F. Griezner


The purpose of this study is to develop a systematic method of selecting tree species for urban street planting in a specific community. The city of Brookings, South Dakota, provides the physical setting for the study. Brookings is a city of 15,000 people located in the east central part of the state near the Minnesota border. As implied above, this study employs geographic methods to determine which tree species are most suitable for street planting in Brookings. The particular problems encountered in the process of selecting urban street trees are especially suited to the skills of the geographer. Carl Sauer identified one of three separate fields of geographical inquiry as "the study of life forms as subject to their physical environment". The subject of this study is a specific life form in relation to a specific environment, viz., trees in the urban landscape. Sauer also defined geography as the study of landscape, which he defined as "an area made up of a distinct association of forms, both physical and cultural". The essence of this study is the determination of those physical and cultural forms that influence the adaptability of trees in the Brookings area. As a subject of modern geographic inquiry, trees and other plants have been long recognized as a vital element in the landscape. Contemporary geographic thought also acknowledges the importance of trees. J. B. Jackson views trees in the urban landscape as "agents of health" that help to make the city a more wholesome and aesthetically pleasing place in which to live. This study has three specific goals: (1) the determination and evaluation of those physical and cultural factors that are "limiting factors" of tree adaptability to the Brookings environment; (2) the selection of tree species that are especially suited for street planting in Brookings; and (3) the development of planting specifications for street trees in Brookings. The first goal is the determination of the "limiting factors" of tree adaptability to the Brookings environment. These factors can be either naturally occurring, such as climate and soil, or a product of human activity, such as air pollutants or paved surfaces. All factors that influence tree health and vigor are examined. The second goal is to select and recommend tree species for planting in Brookings. These selections are based upon the limiting factors determined in the first goal. The selection process involves the evaluation of characteristics of individual tree species in relation to the limiting factors. The third goal is the development of planting specifications for street trees in Brookings. This involves the investigation of the space requirements of trees in relation to the space requirements for human activities. This investigation will form the basis for recommended planting regulations that will ensure minimal interference with utilities and traffic, as well as providing adequate space for tree root and crown growth.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Urban forestry -- South Dakota -- Brookings
Trees in cities -- South Dakota -- Brookings



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University