Dallas Plants Trees, But Some Aren't Getting the Water They Need

The city of Dallas wants to plant 5,000 new trees in the next few years to make up for trees lost in June storms.

A program to plant trees in 12 Dallas parks is called Branching Out and park officials are seeking donations to help irrigate the new trees through the Dallas Parks Foundation and Texas Trees Foundation.

"Every time we do plant new trees in our parks, we have to make sure there is irrigation because we want the majority, if not all the trees to survive," Dallas Parks Assistant Director Oscar Carmona said. "The first couple of years are the most important for a tree's survival, and water is the most important thing for a tree to survive."

A separate city of Dallas program with a similar name called "Branch Out Dallas" offers residents free trees to plant on their property.

A dozen or so trees the city planted at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center a year ago are an example of how not to help trees thrive. The MLK trees evidently have no irrigation system.

"They're barely hanging on. They're not being taken care of. For growth, they need water," neighbor Sherika Hardman said.

The MLK trees were part of a $600,000 upgrade inside and outside the MLK Center in early 2018.

Former city council member Kevin Felder said the money was intended to help correct years of neglected maintenance.

"We did a lot of things with it. We did a complete landscaping package all around the campus of the MLK Center," Felder said.

Some landscaping with irrigation is green and healthy at the MLK Center. But Monday, Felder said he was disappointed to see the condition of the new trees. He hoped the MLK trees could be saved.

"We don't want to waste the taxpayer dollars. We spent money to put these trees in so we should take care of them," Felder said. "We want to make sure we honor the legacy of Dr. King by making sure these grounds are taken care of the best they possibly can."

Carmona said the MLK trees were installed by the Dallas Office of Community Care and not the city's parks department.

"We had to insure that there was irrigation on site in order to put trees in," Carmona said.

Hardman said she was pleased to know that future trees planted in Dallas Parks would receive water.

"I think that it's a lovely thing that they would plant more trees," she said.

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