The noisy throng of cars, pickups and 18-wheelers whizzing by a few feet away didn’t faze The Energy Corridor District crew planting 1,300 tree saplings on a recent sunny February morning.
Hugging the south side of IH-10 from Dairy Ashford to Barker Cypress, the crew gently planted one budding sapling after another after another – all part of The District's ongoing work to create a “green” corridor thriving along one of the nation’s busiest and widest thoroughfares.
Those “twigs” today will grow into graceful Cottonwoods; spiked fruit-bearing Sweetgums; towering Cypress; River Birch lined with papery trunks; a veritable community of oaks including Chestnut, Bur, Nutall, Chinquapin, Water and White; Pawpaw with its edible fruit once favored by American Indians; and Redbuds, with their showy, magenta springtime blooms.
“We focus on diversity, versus a monoculture of pine trees, to provide more of what a forest is really like, with understory trees growing under a canopy,” explains Robert Rayburn, landscape architect for The Energy Corridor District. “The variety of trees will also keep the view interesting as foliage changes throughout the seasons. An additional benefit often overlooked by the traveling public is the benefit from noise absorption and heat reduction.”
Over the years, The District has planted thousands of trees in The Energy Corridor while laying down truckloads of nourishing mulch. The non-profit Trees for Houston honored The District’s work in 2014 with an Arbor Award.
“We routinely plant over a 1,000 saplings every year within the public right-of-ways, not just for today but for the generations that follow,” Rayburn says. “When I travel down the interstate, I think about the contribution these trees bring to the quality of life here. These stately reminders of the natural world are a welcoming, refreshing presence throughout The Energy Corridor District.”