24 Hours with Brian Holers of Root Cause Seattle by 425 Magazine

“It’s not easy being green.”

These words were made famous by Jim Henson’s iconic frog, but also ring true for our city trees. The stoic sentinels that line our streets and dot our parks are in danger, and tree advocate and arborist Brian Holers is trying to make it a little easier to be green.

Holers started the company Root Cause to promote the survival and wellbeing of city trees through arboriculture. This task is often more daunting than it might sound. “Trees and development are natural enemies,” he said. “If your job is to build a house on a small city lot and there’s a tree in the way, the first obvious step would be to cut down the tree.”

While tree preservation is not in the best interest of most developers, Eastside life simply would not be the same without these trees. And many Eastside trees would not be the same without Root Cause.

Root Cause specializes in air excavation technology, which allows arborists to dig safely around trees and improve the surrounding soil. Another technology Holers uses is porous pavement, which allows the roots to receive water and nutrients, while also protecting the tree from some of the harsh effects of city life.

“We always start with the assumption that a mature tree has value,” Holers said. “A tree has a function. It cleans the air, water; it takes up pollutants; it cleans the soil; gives us shade … we start with the assumption that, with care, city trees can be preserved.”

Root Cause’s jobs range widely, from creating porous pavement walkways between Microsoft’s office treehouses to protecting the roots of an iconic elm tree at the University of Washington.

However, arboriculture was not always Holers’ plan. After graduating with a degree in psychology and religious studies from Louisiana State University, Holers took a while to figure out his professional calling. He traveled to East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Jerusalem with his wife and their child. He even tried writing a novel.

Holers now balances his creativity and pragmatism through his work with Root Cause.

“Try to imagine what it would look like if there were no trees. Trees are awesome,” Holers said. “But city trees can only grow with the nutrients we give them. What lies beneath is always a mystery, and that’s why I like my job so much.”

Continue reading see what this tree-loving titan does on a typical day.

Geek of the Week with Brian Holers (by Geekwire)

Geek of the Week profiles the characters of Pacific Northwest tech, science, games, innovation, and more.

“When he was growing up, Brian Holers had a love for the outdoors — fishing, playing baseball, running through corn fields and climbing trees. That last passion eventually led him to where he is today… As an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture, Holers now runs Root Cause from his home base in Mercer Island, Wash. He provides services using modern technology aimed at preserving trees and tree roots, and has even installed “porous pavement” on Microsoft’s Redmond campus.”

Root Cause on King5 - TV

Root Cause on King5 - TV

Alison Morrow of King5-TV met with Brian Holers of Root Cause in Belltown to learn more about our porous pavement installations on 2nd Ave of Downtown Seattle. Flexible porous pavement allows the tree roots to grow without ripping up sidewalks, while also allowing trees beds to trap stormwater run-off.

Bellevue Park Case Study

Bellevue Park Case Study

In September 2016, the general contractor responsible for redeveloping Downtown Bellevue Park in Bellevue, Washington, contacted Root Cause LLC to help protect its trees. The project involved overhauling the park’s land, completing a half-mile long circular walkway around the park and building several children’s playground structures.