Urban Forest Plan

Richardson Courtyard: Black Willows
80. Richardson Courtyard: Black Willows

Richardson Courtyard: North Area
81. Richardson Courtyard: North Area

Richardson Courtyard: Existing Condition
82. Richardson Courtyard: Existing Condition

Richardson Courtyard: Improvement Concept
83. Richardson Courtyard: Improvement Concept


This is a good example of a well-landscaped courtyard renovated in the early 1990's and incorporating elements of earlier landscapes. A grove of Black Willows forms the focal point. Accessed from all directions, it is an important and well used space. A planting replacement program should maintain the canopy and enclosure characteristics, as well as views and movement patterns of this space.

Priority rating: 1

The Black Willows have been a central feature of this courtyard. Unfortunately, they have been greatly damaged by the ice storm and will never recover. These trees suffer from poor branch union and suckering crowns, which will eventually produce a denser than desirable canopy, further affecting the structural integrity of these trees. There are also signs of willow beetle damage.

The Willows are a concern in this space and their future status should be determined. If there is interest in trying to keep the trees, an assessment should be made of the crown and the root systems. Even if they can be saved, extensive pruning and cabling will be required as they start to redevelop their crown. Willows have very aggressive root systems that can cause extensive damage to buildings, especially those in such close proximity. Due to their declining condition, at some point they will have to be removed; it may be prudent to remove these trees sooner than later, providing the opportunity for new planting.

This is a small courtyard with much of its space taken up with walkways. It is very well used as one of the most popular spaces to sit. The reason for its popularity is its character as a forest glade with multiple, random trunks and branches, with a light feathery canopy overhead. Trees with similar charater but less aggressive root systems include multi-stem Ash and Locust.

The linear quality of the north area of this courtyard should be enhanced by a linear planting of high branching deciduous trees such as Ginkgo. They would soften the architecture and provide shade to the south face of Mackintosh-Corry A-Wing.

The eastern garden passage to the central space is in good condition. The Mountain Ash trees should be monitored and pruned. A tree that produces less fruit should be considered for planting close to walkways.

Species recommendation

Grove trees
   Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Multi-stem Green Ash
   Gleditsia triacanthos, Multi-stem Honeylocust
   Robinia pseudoacacia, Multi-stem Black Locust

Linear tree
   Cercidiphyllum japonicum, Single Stem Katsura Tree
   Ginkgo biloba 'Maygar', Maygar Ginkgo
   Tilia cordata, Linden