Small Scale Toppling Tests on Simplified Tree Root Prototypes

Andrea Galli, Giacomo Marrazzo (Lead / Corresponding author), Andrea Marsiglia, Alihossein Ezzati, Matteo Oryem Ciantia, Riccardo Castellanza

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Tree fall events are acknowledged as important causes of damage in urbanized areas and tree risk assessment is now part of general risk management analyses. Preserving arboreal heritage also implies biomass and biodiversity conservation, reduction of superficial soil erosion, improving the stability of potentially unstable slopes. In this context, tree risk assessment techniques used by professional agronomists may benefit of a deeper mechanical understanding of the soil-root interaction mechanisms controlling tree stability. From a Geotechnical point of view, the tree root plate is conceptually assimilated to the foundation of a slender structure subject to eccentric loads. In the paper results of static pulling tests and wind dynamic monitoring on two liquidambar trees are described; estimations of their uprooting safety factor are then derived according to the currently available techniques used in the agronomic field. The pull tests were performed using an advanced loading-unloading scheme, along two orthogonal directions. The preliminary interpretation shows that the system is characterized by a marked non-linear and irreversible behaviour, even at low loading levels as usually tested in agronomic practice. The results suggest that dynamic tree stability testing could be a valuable tool for stability assessment, albeit the interpretation of the results requires expertise in the dynamic behaviour of trees.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeotechnical Engineering in the Digital and Technological Innovation Era
EditorsAlessio Ferrari, Guido Gottardi, Maurizio Ziccarelli, Marco Rosone
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9783031347610
ISBN (Print)9783031347603 (hbk), 9783031347634 (pbk)
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventVIII Convegno Nazionale dei Ricercatori di Ingegneria Geotecnica: 8th Italian Conference of Researchers in Geotechnical Engineering - Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy
Duration: 5 Jul 20237 Jul 2023

Publication series

NameSpringer Series in Geomechanics and Geoengineering (SSGG)
ISSN (Print)1866-8755
ISSN (Electronic)1866-8763


ConferenceVIII Convegno Nazionale dei Ricercatori di Ingegneria Geotecnica
Abbreviated titleCNRIG 2023
Internet address


  • Small scale tests
  • tree toppling mechanism
  • lateral load
  • foundations


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