Tupelo expands its urban forest

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The city this month began harvesting hundreds of saplings from its municipal tree farm for replanting throughout Tupelo.
About 250 redbuds, black gums, cypress, maples, nuttall and sawtooth oaks – all nurtured from tiny sprigs at the south Tupelo grove – have been plucked from the ground by Public Works employees.
Half will find new homes along U.S. Highway 45 at Eason Boulevard, while the rest will go in city parks and throughout the downtown residential area to replace some of the large oaks lost to age and storm damage.
Additional trees likely will come out of the ground next month to replace those lost along the U.S. 45 and U.S. 78 interchange.
“That’s just from the tree farm; if we get any grant money or anything, we can get more trees to plant,” said David Knight, Public Works Department tree farm supervisor.
The farm, located on Lawndale Drive, currently nurtures about 2,000 saplings. Trees grow there for five years before the city replants them throughout the community – in parks, along streets and in residential neighborhoods.
“It actually saves us a lot of money,” Knight said.
The city populates the farm with tiny saplings it buys for about $15 each. 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.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@journalinc.com.