Tree Radar Unit Gives WSSI Arborists Critical Data

Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. (WSSI) arborists have acquired a Tree Radar Unit (TRU) for predicting what’s happening underground with roots and surrounding infrastructure without disturbing the landscaping, paving, or soil!  We’re using this ground penetrating radar (GPR) hardware and software system – optimized for tree root detection – to help our clients make data-driven design and construction decisions for tree preservation projects.  We can also look at how roots interact with underground utility assets, and help providers make plans to ensure infrastructure integrity and service reliability.  Read more to learn about how this new tool can benefit your projects.

What Is It?

GPR collects information about what is below the ground – including under pavement – without disturbing anything on the surface.  The GPR unit emits electromagnetic signals and collects information in the radar waves that bounce back when they collide with roots and other structures buried below.  Unlike other GPR applications, TRU is designed to detect the unique signals that roots return.  WSSI is skilled at integrating the TRU’s unique data into working design files – giving you practical visuals to aid in making important decisions for your project.

TRU Advantages

WSSI is using this technology for tree preservation projects in developed areas where knowing about root density and distribution is critical.  The TRU is the best option when infrastructure makes it difficult to assess with the supersonic airtool* or other best practices for investigations.

  • Reduced impact to project sites
  • Gather data in difficult locations
  • Cover a larger area in less time
  • Import root information directly into CAD design files

Is the TRU Right for My Project?

The TRU – with its GPR technology – is unique in its ability to gather data on parts of a site that used to be unreachable. Sites that have a considerable amount of pavement or other hardscapes can be scanned to collect information on the roots that lie below. Also, compared to traditional methods, GPR can cover a much larger portion of land in a shorter amount of time – meaning less time and disruption required on the project site.

To learn more about how our GPR services could benefit your projects, or to learn more about our arborist services, including tree preservation or urban forestry, please contact Cary Hulse in our Gainesville, Virginia office, or Cene Ketcham in our Millersville, Maryland office.

*The supersonic airtool is used to clear soil from roots in the ground — a gentle means of “digging.”

WSSI arborists used GPR technology to predict root density for a large sycamore in a developed area. This information can be overlaid on a site plan to guide design and construction decisions and protect root health. Warmer colors represent higher root density.


  • Cary Hulse

    Gainesville, VA

  • Cene Ketcham

    Millersville, MD