City to plant 25,000 new trees for Arbor Day

January 5, 2012 3:25:07 PM PST
The Houston landscape has changed dramatically in the past few months because of the drought, but now there's an effort to plant 25,000 trees in one day.

Four parks are being targeted -- Memorial, Hermann, MacGregor and Mason. They've lost thousands of trees and could lose more if we don't get more rain.

Dead trees have cut down from one Houston park to another.

"I don't like it. I like more trees," said resident Willie Bailey.

He and generations of his family have played at MacGregor Park, but tree stumps have replaced where lush urban forests used to be.

"I remember when I was young there was trees; that really attracted me to the park," Bailey said.

Because of the drought, city foresters estimate 11,000 dead trees have already been removed. Even as that process continues, the city of Houston is making big plans to replace the lost canopy.

"It's a long-term process. We're going to have to replant Houston over the years for future generations, there's no doubt. We can't replace what we've lost currently," said Joe Turner, Director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.

Just in time for Arbor Day, the city wants to plant 25,000 trees over one weekend. Many of the larger trees will come from Tree Source, which says January is the ideal time to get young trees in the ground.

"Even though we are not getting the rainfall that we need, they will get the roots out and establish themselves better than when you are planting in the summer," said Wayne Gross with Tree Source.

The idea is to plant a variety of trees that are at different ages and have different water needs, and hopefully, survive Houston's searing summer.

With sponsors paying for the trees, what the city now needs are volunteers so parks like MacGregor will be around for future generations.

"The importance of trees is very important for my kids," said Bailey.