Green streets

Quality maintenance

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Image caption: Stichting Open Boek

Maintenance is a long term commitment

A plan should be set up for all greening projects that guarantees the quality and functional performance of trees and other plants. A systematic multi-year maintenance plan includes water schedules and volumes, pruning schedules, fertilizer application, and soil management.

Maintenance is an investment

Well maintained quality vegetation is more attractive and raises the value and usage of green spaces as well as the value of the surroundings. Poorly maintained and overgrown green space creates negative attitudes toward greening in urban areas. Falling branches are dangerous to people and property and are more costly to repair than routine pruning. Funds should be reserved for maintenance, based on a risk assessment and a cost-benefit-analysis.

Design and maintenance go hand in hand

Choices of landscape and planting materials from the beginning of the planning process through to completed construction should consider how these impact ongoing maintenance. There should be a balance between design and maintenance capabilities, that are addressed in budget, initiative and ability.

Involve all parties who are affected by the results

Maintenance solutions should meet the expectations of all stakeholders, including local government, contractors, residents, users and businesses. Facilitated discussions help understand the varied impressions of quality maintenance and find solutions to achieve this within the available resources (money, manpower). Funds may be sourced from various sectors who also profit from an attractive urban environment. Community comments can help guide maintenance experts when the agreed standards are not being met.


Allow trees to reach their full potential by providing proper maintenance from day one.

Benefits of maintenance

  • Attractive well maintained green is treated with respect by users and surrounding residents
  • Attractive well maintained green raises the value of surrounding properties
  • Preventable accidents such as falling branches and uplifted pavement can be avoided by timely control and maintenance
  • Well maintained green spaces are perceived as being safer green spaces that are well maintained

“Ultimately, a green area’s suitability for use is determined by the maintenance it receives.”

Piet Eilander, Amsterdam’s Greenery, Ecology, Urban
Recreation and Water team, in The Green City Post 2011

New and existing development

In new development:

Guarantee proper maintenance, especially in the first years after planting, by stating clearly in the project specifications the requirements for care, water and fertilizer. Budget the time and money for maintenance from the beginning so it is not seen as an extra cost later.

In existing development:

Take an inventory of maintenance needs in the city based on a desired level of quality, set up a yearly plan, train the people who will carry the plans out and reserve a budget to raise the quality of the existing green.