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Tree Project On Skillman Is Getting Notice; Dallas Urban Forest Committee Would Like To Do More

Young Caddo Maples along the median of Skillman Street between University Blvd and Lovers Lane are part of the Adopt-A-Median program effort of UFAC and the Dallas Dept of Street Services.
Photo by the Dallas Urban Forest Advisory Committee.

Published May 14, 2009 By NANCY VISSER


Now that the young Caddo maples are beginning to bloom along the median of Skillman Street between University Boulevard and Lovers Lane, people are starting to take notice.

In fact, Barbara Hult, who has lived in a condo in that area for about 20 years, almost ran off the road when she saw them.

"I had tried years and years ago to get them planted on the boulevard. I even had drawings done up," she said. "But the guidelines from the city were that they would plant them, but we would have to take care of them, and there was no way that my condominium [complex] could take care of them financially."

She dropped the effort. Then, all these years later, she couldn't believe what she saw. "I almost wrecked the car; there are trees!"

She wants to give a big shout out to the folks responsible. Go to the jump to find out who was behind the project.

The shout out for this "signature tree planting project" should go to the City of Dallas Urban Forest Advisory Committee and the committee's leadership, Steve Houser, Mike Fitzgerald, Eric Larner and Kurt Kretsinger.

"They're Caddo maples, and that's what makes this a signature tree planting project," Houser said. "Mike came from up north and he wanted something that would give us good fall color. The tree originates in southwest Oklahoma, and they are known for having pretty good consistent fall color."

There are about two dozen young trees on two strips of median grouped in clusters of three. They were planted in January.

"There's a thinking behind the planting's design," Houser said. "Typically, you line trees up in a row. But if you group them in threes and have mulch around them, that will reduce the need for water and mowing, and will save the city's budget and help the air quality."

The committee will make sure the trees are watered until the roots are mature enough to reach the water they need.

"We will have a water truck that will water them for two to three years or more, depending on the summer weather," Houser said. "After two to three years, we won't have to water very often, and after four to five years, we won't have to water them unless there's a drought, or not at all."

The urban foresters would like to do more projects like this, but they need folks to adopt and maintain the trees for a couple years at a time. The trees would be purchased through the city's reforestation fund and volunteer workers will do the planting, but someone needs to keep the trees alive. "Watering is the real key," Houser said.

The Adopt-A-Median program is a joint effort between the Urban Forest Advisory Committee and the Dallas Department of Street Services, which regulates street medians.

About the author

Ms. Nancy Visser

Ms. Visser is a reporter for The Dallas Morning News.

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