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Project Name: Arlington National Cemetery

Project Location: Arlington, Virginia

Arlington National Cemetery is only one of two cemeteries in the United States that is maintained by the U.S. Department of the Army. Established during the American Civil War, it is one of the country’s oldest national cemeteries. Spanning 639 acres, its majestic landscapes provide beauty and peace to visitors, serving as a dignified final resting place for those who honorably served our nation.

Protecting the Iconic Landscapes:

An interesting fact about Arlington National Cemetery is that it hosts some of the most diverse, significant, and oldest trees.

According to the Arlington National Cemetery’s website:

  • With more than 9,000 trees, the cemetery is home to approximately 400 varieties that are both native to the area and exotic.
  • 142 Memorial Trees, the Medal of Honor historic trees, and many other significant trees are planted throughout the cemetery.
  • Some trees are nearly 250 years old, pre-dating the first burials.

Given these remarkable features, protecting the cemetery’s trees was a top priority for a recent design-build project at Arlington National Cemetery.

Product Selection & Solution:

In 2023, Terra Site Constructors initiated a design-build project at Arlington National Cemetery, focusing on stabilizing three historical pylons near the main entrance. The project’s scope encompassed installing push piers and helical anchors, preserving the structures in line with the Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, restoring the site, and undertaking supporting elements of work.

Presto Geosystems’ GEOTERRA Mats Were Utilized for Temporary Ground & Tree Root Protection

Before Terra Site Constructors began their stabilization work at the cemetery, Empire Landscape, LLC had to install a product that would protect the ground and the historic trees in the area. Empire Landscapes chose the GEOTERRA Mats to protect the ground and tree roots from heavy truck and traffic damage.

The GEOTERRA Mats were installed over a base layer of mulch. The mats protected the roots and trunks of the old trees surrounding the construction area while supporting the heavy equipment required for the stabilization project.

GEOTERRA Construction Mats Benefits:

The GEOTERRA Mats are connected with a PADLOC® device and secured in place using the Earth Anchor Crimp Tool and Drive Rod (view installation guide).

The installation was overseen by two ISA-certified arborists from Empire Landscape and Pat Branin from Colonial Construction Materials. Pat, a Certified Field Representative for Presto Geosystems, provided installation instructions, while the arborist ensured the trees were carefully protected throughout installation.

GEOTERRA Ground Protection Mats were the perfect solution for the Arlington National Cemetery project for several reasons:

  • Durability: The GEOTERRA Mats offer the equivalent durability of 12 inches of crushed aggregate – as tested by the University of Kansas. Due to the confined work space and the trees, crushed aggregate was not a viable option.
  • Easy Installation: GEOTERRA Mats are easy to install and remove. These lightweight mats do not necessitate machinery for installation and can be flexibly arranged to accommodate design constraints, such as a tree located in the center of the work zone.
  • Improved Stormwater Infiltration: The porous GEOTERRA panels allow for improved water infiltration. Unlike impermeable mats that pool water after a rain event, GEOTERRA mats allow rainwater to percolate into the soil and the tree’s root system.
  • Weather Resistant: GEOTERRA mats are made from recycled polyethylene that won’t rot or mildew.

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