Project is the latest District reforestation effort, one that has planted thousands of trees throughout the years
More than 60 native Live Oak trees are now calling the newest stretch of Park Row Boulevard home, thanks to the latest Energy Corridor District reforestation work.
The trees were planted along the section of Park Row that the District completed last year to improve transportation mobility in West Houston. Tons of mulch were also laid down, along with an irrigation system.
Over the years, the District has planted thousands of native trees and shoveled untold amounts of microbe-rich mulch to create green islands that do more than provide natural beauty for the Energy Corridor.
“Reforestation of public areas is important to us as they provide shade and contribute to traffic calming, stormwater management, heat island reduction,” explains District Landscape Architect Robert Rayburn, ASLA.
One of the most visible results of that effort is the green corridor that visitors see as they travel into the District along the Katy Freeway. Soon after the District was established by the Texas State Legislature in 2001, it began beautifying and maintaining the IH-10 corridor.
"We've adopted seven miles of IH-10, which is 14 miles of frontage road where we’ve planted a cornucopia of native trees species," says Rayburn. “It’s become a green corridor that’s not only appealing to look at – with different species blooming at different times of the year – it also helps absorb the noise of the interstate, while reducing heat.”
Keeping that green corridor thriving means The District also lays down truckloads of mulch each year to maintain a healthy, tree-nurturing soil and help with the tree’s moisture needs. It’s a labor-intensive effort with a payoff.
“The mulching process improves soil conditions by top-dressing beds with hardwood mulch that decomposes into future amendments for trees and other plant material,” explains Rayburn. “This layer of organic plant material also helps us maintain reforestation areas by preventing less desirable plant growth from germinating and colonizing. Mulching reduces wind movement and heat exposure, which can minimize moisture loss in the soil’s upper layers.”
Its reforestation efforts have earned the District honors in Texas, most notably a Trees for Houston Award in 2014.
The District reforestation program is led by Rayburn, a registered landscape architect and certified arborist who has worked for more than 30 years in sustainable development and resource preservation.