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Susan Day

Associate Professor

Ph.D.—Virginia Tech; M.S.—Cornell University; B.A.—Yale University

My research is dedicated to uncovering practical information that will improve tree health and canopy cover in urbanizing environments and I conduct research in a variety of urban forestry issues. I am particularly interested in land development and urban design issues and how root/soil interactions affect the contribution of trees to urban ecosystems. Joint appointment in Department of Horticulture.

Teaching Responsibilities
Research Projects
Education and Service
  • Soils Technical Core Committee, Sustainable Sites Initiative (
  • Review Panel for the Garden Club of America Zone VI National Urban Forestry Fellowship (Chair)
Recent Peer-reviewed Articles
  • Layman, R.M., S.D. Day, D. K. Mitchell, Y. Chen, J. R. Harris, and W. L. Daniels. 2016. Below ground matters: Urban soil rehabilitation increases tree canopy and speeds establishment. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 15:1-5.

  • Day, S.D. and D.K. Mitchell. 2015. A new perspective on opportunities for stormwater mitigation through soil management in ordinary urban landscapes. Watershed Science Bulletin, January 2015.

  • Kimball, L., Wiseman, P.E., Day, S.D., and J.F. Munsell. 2014. Use of urban tree canopy assessments by localities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Cities and the Environment 7(2):9.

  • Chen*, Y., S.D. Day, A.F. Wick, K. McGuire. 2014. Influence of urban land development and subsequent soil rehabilitation on soil aggregates, carbon, and hydraulic conductivity. Science of the Total Environment 494: 329-336. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.06.099.

  • Wang, C.-Y., Sample, D.J., Day, S.D., and Grizzard, T.J. 2014. Floating treatment wetland nutrient removal through vegetation harvest and observations from a field study. Ecological Engineering DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2014.05.018.

  • Chen*, Y., S.D. Day, R.K. Shrestha, B.D. Strahm, and P.E. Wiseman. 2014. Influence of urban land development and soil rehabilitation on soil-atmosphere greenhouse gas fluxes. Geoderma 226-227: 348-353. DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2014.03.017

  • Plumb*, P., S.D. Day, T. Wynn-Thompson, and J.R. Seiler. 2013. Relationship between woody plant colonization and Typha L. encroachment in stormwater detention basins. Environmental Management 52:861-876.
  • Chen*, Y., S.D. Day, A.F. Wick, B.D. Strahm, P.E. Wiseman, and W.L. Daniels. 2013. Changes in soil carbon pools and microbial biomass from urban land development and subsequent post-development soil rehabilitation. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 66:38-44.
  • Wiseman, P.E., S.D. Day, and J.R. Harris. 2012. Organic amendment effects on soil carbon and microbial biomass in the root zone of three landscape tree species. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 38(6): 262-275.
  • McGee, J.A., S.D. Day, R.H. Wynne, and B. White. 2012. Using geospatial tools to assess the urban tree canopy:  Decision support for local governments. Journal of Forestry 110(5): 275-286.
  • Bartens**, J., H. Grissino-Mayer, S.D. Day, and P.E. Wiseman. 2012. Evaluating the potential for dendrochronological analysis of live oak (Quercus virginiana Mill.) from the urban and rural environment-An explorative study. Dendrochronologia 30:15 21.
  • Day, S. D. and R. Amateis. 2011 Predicting canopy and trunk cross-sectional area of silver linden (Tilia tomentosa) in confined planting cutouts. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 10(4): 317-322.
  • Wiseman, P.E., J. Hoffman*, S.D. Day, and T. Clements. 2011. A syllabus-level review of arboriculture education in the United States. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry  37(2): 51-59.
  • Harris, J.R. and S.D. Day. 2010 Planting depth at onset of container production and subsequent rootball remediation at transplanting of pin oak and littleleaf linden. HortScience. 45(12): 1793–1797. 
  • Day, S. D., S. B. Dickinson**, P. E. Wiseman, and J. R. Harris. 2010. Tree root ecology in the urban environment and implications for a sustainable rhizosphere. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry. 36(5): 193–205.
  • Day, S. D., P. E. Wiseman, S. B. Dickinson**, and J. R. Harris. 2010. Contemporary concepts of root system architecture of urban trees. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 36(4):149-159.
  • Lea-Cox, J., D.S. Ross, T. Bilderback, T. Yeager, J.R. Harris, C. Hong, S.D. Day, W. Bauerle, R. Beeson, A. Ristvey, J. Ruter, M. Lorscheider, S. Dickinson**. 2010. A Nursery and Greenhouse Online Knowledge Center: Learning Opportunities for Sustainable Practice. HortTechnology 20(3):509-517.
  • Bartens, J.*,S. D. Day, J. R. Harris, T. M. Wynn, and J. E. Dove. 2009 Transpiration and root development of urban trees in structural soil stormwater reservoirs. Environmental Management44(4): 646-657.
  • Day, S. D., G.W. Watson, P.E. Wiseman, and J.R. Harris. 2009. Causes and consequences of deep structural roots in urban trees: from nursery production to landscape establishment. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry35(4): 182–190.
  • Bartens, J.*, S. D. Day, J. R. Harris, J. E. Dove, and T. M. Wynn. 2008 Can urban tree roots improve infiltration through compacted subsoils for stormwater management? Journal of Environmental Quality 37:2048-2057.
  • Harris, J. R., S. D. Day and B. Kane. 2008. Nitrogen fertilization during planting and establishment of the urban forest: A collection of five studies. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.7(3):195-206.
  • Day, S. D. and J. R. Harris. 2008.Growth, survival, and root system morphology of deeply planted Corylus colurnaseven years after transplanting and the effects of root collar excavation. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 7(2): 119-128.
Selected Recent Presentations and Proceedings
  • Chen, Y.*, Day, S.D., A.F. Wick, P.E. Wiseman, and W.L. Daniels, Characterization of Soil Carbon Pools Two Years after Urban Soil Rehabilitation. Arboriculture Research & Education Academy. International Society of Arboriculture’s 86th Annual Conference. Chicago, IL. July 26, 2010. (poster)
  • Day, S. D. 2010. Soils on the Sustainable Site. In conference symposium: Windhager, S., R. Goo, and S.D. Day. 2010 Quantifying soil and water conservation benefits through the Sustainable Sites Initiative. Soil and Water Conservation Society 65th International Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Wiseman, P.E. and S.D. Day. 2010. SAF specialized accreditation for urban forestry programs: A case study at Virginia Tech. 8th Biennial Conference on University Education in Natural Resources. (oral presentation)
  • West, W.W.* and S.D. Day. Students perceptions of service learning. Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. February 19, 2010 (poster)
  • Day, S.D., J. R. Harris, P.E. Wiseman, Tang Dai, J. Bartens, and E. G. McPherson. 2008. Tree root systems in urban settings: Growth and development—part of the International Society of Arboriculture’s Literature Review Series. In Arboriculture for the Third Millenium. Ed. F. Ferrini. European Congress of Arboriculture. June 16-18, 2008, Turin, Italy. (in press)

  • Day, S. D., J. E. Dove, J. Bartens*, and J. R. Harris 2008. Stormwater management that combines paved surfaces and urban trees. In Geosustainability and Geohazard Mitigation: Proceedings of Selected Sessions of GeoCongress 2008. Eds. K.R. Reddy, M.. Khire, and A.N. Alshawabkeh. March 9-12, New Orleans, Louisiana. Geotechnical Special Publication No. 178. pp. 1129-1136.

  • Harris, J.R., S.Day, N. Bassuk, Q. Xiao, J. Bartens*, T. Hafner, J. Dove, T. Wynn.  2007.  Integrating the urban forest into stormwater management: A first step into restoring hydrologic function in urbanized environments.  HortScience 42:824. Abstract.
  • Bartens, J.*, S. D. Day, and J. R. Harris. Incorporating the urban forest into hardscape: A novel design for stormwater management. In New Forests After Old Industries. Eds.  10th European Forum on Urban Forestry. May 16-19, 2007, Gelsenkirchen, Germany. pp. 25-27. 
Professional and Honor Societies
  • Arboriculture Research and Educational Academy
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Environmental & Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers
  • International Society of Arboriculture
  • Society of American Foresters
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
  • Trees Virginia

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