By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – One hundred young trees went into the ground recently as part of Tupelo’s ongoing effort to green its urban landscape and uphold its image as a Tree City USA.
Little magnolias, elms, oaks, red buds and Japanese maples now dot the downtown area, all of them planted within the past few weeks by the Public Works Department.
The hearty saplings came from the city’s tree farm on Lawndale Drive. An additional 200 saplings that otherwise would have been planted in Tupelo this year went instead to Smithville, which lost much of its foliage in last year’s devastating tornado.
“We’re fortunate enough to have a nursery we can dig trees out of, so we thought we would help out Smithville with some of them,” said David Knight, who oversees the farm and the planting effort.
The farm will be replenished with some 300 tiny sprigs, each of which will grow for five years until they’re large enough to join the urban landscape. The sprigs cost about $15 when the city acquires them but are worth an estimated $250 by the time they come out of the ground. It’s an annual cost savings of $70,000.
Knight provided advice for those planting their own trees this season:
• Dig your hole a little larger than the sapling’s root ball.
• In case of poor soil quality, add peat moss or compost to the hole to give the sapling’s roots something to grow into.
• Don’t plant the tree too deep; leave its root ball above ground level.
• Water the sapling every 10-12 days when rainfall is sparse.
• Avoiding pruning the tree for at least a year.