Million+Trees Campaign

Houston is going green. Over the next three years — one million trees will be added to the city’s landscape. Laurie Johnson reports.

Houston’s urban canopy was decimated by Hurricane Ike.

With the memory of so many downed power lines caused by fallen trees, the news that we’ll be getting a million more of them may not be thrilling.

Houston Mayor Bill White.

“We’re picking up probably, I guess about 2.5 million cubic yards of tree debris from the storm. A number of people may think well Houston was on it’s back. Houston had a lot of work to do, the nation was on its back. But I tell you what, what better way to symbolize the fact that we have hope and optimism for the future than to plant a seedling, something to watch grow as you grow.”

The trees will be planted mostly in esplanades, away from power lines.

image of new seedlingsThe city will purchase at least 150,000 of them. The rest will come from TxDOT, Harris County, corporate donations and various private groups.

The first three streets designated for plantings are Wayside, Clay Road and Dairy Ashford.

Mack Fowler with the Quality of Life Coalition says trees are a key element to improving life in Houston.

“Houston is built on what is for the most part a bare coastal plain. And our trees and bayous are our greatest natural assets. We also live in an environment that is extremely salubrious to the growth of trees. And so we’re taking a very pragmatic approach to making the city more attractive.”

The planting will start in December and last into February. You’ll see a mix of hardy, native varieties. It’ll be mostly seedlings, with some 5-gallon and 15-gallon saplings.

And city officials estimate it’ll be about 18 months before the trees are self sufficient, meaning they won’t need to be watered.

“You know we’re not going to have the mountains that they do in the Rocky Mountains, or we don’t have a blue Mediterranean; although, I love the Gulf. But we can be a green city with a lot of trees, and this is what it’s all about.”

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Click the hyperlink to learn more about the Million Trees + Houston campaign.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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