Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

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 (sustainablesites.org)
  • 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

About Us

Contact Us

About Cheatham Hall 

   

FREC Strategic Plan

   

2015 FREC Annual Report

   

Fall 2016 FREC Newsletter

View Archive Newsletters 

   

FREC Career Book

   

FREC Course Cards

FREC YouTube Videos

FREC Undergraduate Checksheets

Undergraduate Brochure (pdf)

Graduate Brochure (pdf)