Branching out: Tupelo tree farm to double in size

TUPELO – After its first successful harvest of five-year-old saplings, the city’s tree farm will branch out this year to include two new nurseries.
Work will begin next month to clear land for a 1-acre day lily bed and a 1.5-acre plot for more saplings. The additions will nearly double the size of the south Tupelo tree farm that began in 2003.
The farm, located on Lawndale Drive, currently nurtures about 1,400 saplings including cypress, crape myrtle, Japanese maple, elm and a variety of oak. Trees grow there for five years before the city replants them throughout the community – in parks, along streets, and in residential neighborhoods.
Last year marked the first time for the digging-and-replanting process, with about 300 trees coming out of the farm. It was so successful, the city wanted to expand it, said David Knight, Public Works Department tree farm supervisor.
“It actually saves us a lot of money,” Knight said.
The city populates the farm with tiny saplings it buys at about $15 apiece. By the time they come out of the ground five years later they’re worth $250 each. At 300 trees a year, that’s roughly $70,000 in annual savings.
With the expansion, the farm will be able to support an additional 700 trees along with hundreds of clusters of day lilies. The city plants about 500 day lilies each year.
Also on tap this year is a five-year treescape plan that Knight is developing to green the city’s major thoroughfares and interchanges. Among its goals is to plant groves along Tupelo’s new northern loop.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

EMILY LE COZ / NEMS Daily Journal