About Tree Matrix
Tree Matrix was created by Keith Pitchford, ISA certified arborist (Pitchford Associates, Washington, DC) to help solve two persistent problems related to trees in the landscape. The first is the challenge of predictable tree preservation, and the second is appropriate and sustainable landscape planting. In addition to removing uncertainty from tree preservation, Tree Matrix works to retain the enormous value that trees add to residential and commercial property. It is also the intent of this site, and its family of creators and users, to help preserve all trees worldwide that are so critical to the survival of life on earth. Trees must be preserved in the urban and suburban environments to help offset heat island affects, particulate pollution, and storm water sheet flow. Trees also add significantly to our quality of life through their aesthetics and unique interdependent nature. We can and should preserve trees whenever possible; Tree Matrix is an essential new tool for doing so.
Founder and CEO: Keith Pitchford
Keith is an ISA Certified Arborist and has 30 years of experience in arboriculture, including 20 years of running a successful tree preservation firm in Washington DC and Charlottesville, VA. He is a graduate of the Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Co-founder and COO: Cameron Nelson
Cameron comes to Tree Matrix with a broad range of skills, including technology, marketing, and operations. He has 16 years experience in technology consulting and the nonprofit sector, and has led the development of several other successful SaaS products. He has an MBA, and an MA.
Tree Matrix's Tools
Tree Matrix provides two proprietary tools. The Predictive Analytical Engine (PAE) is based upon an algorithm developed by Keith Pitchford, with his 30 years of consulting on arboriculture and tree preservation projects. The PAE grew from a frustration with subjective, guesswork-type tree preservation. This “old school” method of guesswork has now been replaced with a highly accurate formula that will help to eliminate uncertainty in this process. This will result in the retention of more trees with fewer uncertainties and legal challenges.
Five equally important parameters of tree preservation are considered by the PAE. They calculate the likelihood of trees surviving the impacts of root loss during the critical 3-5 year period following impacts. The user can manipulate the parameters to optimize preservation potential. Analysis of historical tree preservation projects using the Tree Matrix formula has resulted in 70% being the baseline for long-term tree preservation success. If the user cannot attain at least a 70% survival rating, it may not be prudent to keep the tree. The higher the percentage obtained, the better the long-term chances for survival and the less post-construction treatments are necessary.
The PAE is also based on a machine learning platform, which will capture data entered by users, and over years can mine the results of the preservation efforts. The result will be a highly refined tree preservation formula with each and every project, and each and every year.
The Landscape Planning Tool (LPT) is an innovative tool and data base that allows the user to enter planting parameters such as zip code (to determine plant hardiness zone), and others to produce a list of appropriate trees and shrubs for the specific planting locations. Planting good trees and shrubs, but in the wrong location should not happen anymore with the LPT. This will save the plant owner significant amounts of money and frustration that often accompanies the practice of putting a good plant in a bad location. The LPT has a data base of 1300 trees and shrubs and will be continually updated.
The Predictive Analytical Engine (PAE) parameters
1) Tree type
The user will choose from a list of hundreds of trees listed by Common name.
2) Tree condition
Condition ratings can be obtained by one of several scales in use within the arboricultural industry. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) published an excellent scale in 1978 that still in use today (Journal of Arboriculture 4(11), November, 1978). Ratings within the PAE are to be: Excellent, Good, Good to Fair, Fair or Poor. Each is assigned a numerical value within the formula.
3) Critical Root Zone (CRZ) loss
The PAE calculates the square footage of CRZ, which is based upon the tree diameter and the resulting area of a circle.
Once the CRZ is expressed, the user can manipulate the CRZ shape to account for existing boundaries that the user has identified on the site map. Boundaries that can redirect root growth include buildings with full footings ( generally 30” of depth, or more), parking lots, retaining walls or privacy walls that are built on full foundational footings, roadways (with the exception of dirt roads that will allow for root expansion), and any driveway or walkway that has been built on a thick sub-base of material (18”, or greater) that could inhibit root growth. In some cases, when no boundaries exist that can redirect root expansion, then the CRZ can remain a circle.
Determining the exact dimensions of the CRZ may be initially challenging. However, with frequency of use, the dimensions will become increasingly recognizable. User should not be frustrated, or confused since even in the arboricultural profession there is not agreement as to what features redirect root growth. However, there is agreement as to what conditions attract root growth and those include soil that is not highly compacted, well aerated soils with good structure, and soils that contain adequate moisture.
It is also conventional thinking that roots can extend 2-3 times beyond the limits of the tree drip line. TREE ROOTS ARE NOT RESTRICTED TO THE AREA UNDER THE DRIPLINE! This is a misconception, and one that must be dispelled. To help the user track the CRZ, the PAE will “dock” the original CRZ to the right of the screen and will keep track of the new CRZ as it is being manipulated. Ideally, the manipulated CRZ would equal the calculated amount, but in the urban and suburban environment the CRZ is rarely fully expressed. Do not try to force the CRZ to match that which was calculated. It is not unusual for a tree’s CRZ to be less than optimal. This is often why the tree condition may be lower than expected.
4) Season of root loss
The user will have to identify the season of impact based upon their geographical location.
5) Root quadrants affected by root cutting
The user will enter this parameter from the drop down menu used for the other parameters. The first root pruning (or cut, excavation, etc.) will define the first “side” of impact. Any other cuts made in a 90 degree angle from the first, or parallel will be another side.
When a tree grows in a situation where one, or more, sides are restricted by boundaries such as roadways or walls, then this may be a situation where there are only “3” or “2” sides. The drop down menu accounts for these situations.
Click here for the User Manual.