Question @ unusual tree planting method

On my way to work in Chicago, I walk past a new building nearing completion on the NE corner of Madison and Wacker - straight east of the opera house. They are planting some trees in a manner I have never seen before. I was wondering if any of you might have any experience with this, or be able to direct me to a resource where I could find out more about it.

They are planting several pretty sizeable deciuduous trees (sorry, I haven’t looked close enough to determine the species - my WAG is that they resemble ashes) in large circular planters. Around the base of each tree, they constructed a large white hemisphere, with approximately 6’ radius. The structure is made up of 4-6 wedge shaped pieces. When joined, they have a raised black criss-crossing latticework, as well as several plumbing outlets.

I originally assumed these were in some way to protect the new trees over the upcoming winter. But they have begun covering the structures with peat moss, and then planting some low profile ground cover on them. A very interesting effect (albeit, an apparently high cost and high maintenance approach.)

Do any of you have any experience with this type of installation?

Man, walked by today, and there were crews packing the peat moss onto these structures by hand. Talk about laor intensive! Moreover, there appears to be lighting insideof these “mounds” aimed up thru the trees along their trunks. Can you say “high maintenance”?!
Really cool looking building, tho.
(See, by your overwhelming responses I knew you were all interested and just dying for an update!):wink:

Can’t speak for the rest of the Big Brains, but, me, I was totally stumped.

[sub]get it–stumped?[/sub]



So, the trees are in big circular planters, up off the ground? (BTW, they couldn’t be ash trees, because ashes get way too big to be in planters.) And around the base of each planter are these wedge-shaped plastic pieces, that when interlocked form a hemisphere around the base of the planter, with plumbing, presumably for drip irrigation? And they’re packing peat moss onto this hemispherical framework, and planting ground cover in the peat moss? And now there’s lighting shining up the trees’ trunks?

Whoa. I’d say you’re looking at some very pricey state-of-the-art landscaping, dude. Nothing to do with winter insulation, just plain old expensive high-maintenance “if ya got it, flaunt it” conspicuous consumption.

Knew I was going out on a limb with that ID. I was surprised to see these trees (tree and bush ID is not my strongpoint). They definitely ain’t locusts, which is most of what you see on the streets of Chi.

But they are pretty huge specimins - I’d guess 5" diameter. At least 15-20’ tall. Upright pyramidal form - reminded me of a linden or ash. A couple of them had quite a few leaves when they were delivered. I should have taken a closer look then. Yesterday I glanced while walking past, and I thought the leaves were not entirely spear shaped. No way they could be putting oaks in planters, huh?

This whole building just exudes class (and $). The planters are only about 1-2’ above ground - I assume their rims will serve nicely as benches in warm weather. They put them in in a single piece - like gigantiic pots. The aboveground rims appear to be black polished granite. One day when I have nothing better to do I’ll pace off their diameter. I’d assume inside diameter approx 12’, with a 1 1/2’ deep bench as a rim.

These hemispheres take up the entire space inside of the benches.

Your paragraph describes it real well, DDG. Today when I saw the lights I just about lost it. How the hell are they gonna change the lightbulbs?

Oh yeah - between these planters (there are maybe six along the S side where I walk, and several more on the E side) there are these wierd light-type sculpture things. Basically a chrome cylinder about 8" in diameter sticking up a couple of feet. Appears to be a spotlight shining straight up. But on top of the spot is a mesh cylinder of the same diameter extending up maybe 12’. So the light shining up through the mesh creates neat patterns that change as you walk past.

Anyone in Chi should make a point of stopping by when they are in the neighborhood.

I was hoping someone might have heard about this type of thing and might know of a website with pics and info. Guess I was barking up the wrong – um - nevermind. Gotta leave now.