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Longview replacing trees felled by drought

By Angela Ward
Feb. 11, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Longview got a little greener Monday as officials from the city, Texas A&M Forest Service and Keep Longview Beautiful planted 24 species of trees around the municipal complex on Cotton Street.

"This is in keeping with our goal to make Longview a more environmentally friendly and inviting community," said Dionne Lott, vice president of Keep Longview Beautiful.

Many of the 30 trees that were planted are replacing ones that perished in the drought of 2011. Money for the project was raised this past weekend.

"Trees add to the beauty of Longview and help us have a greener, cleaner environment," Lott said. "They also provide shade and just make people feel better about living here."

Shawn Hara, city spokesman, said it was just the first step in replacing trees lost to drought. The next phase will involve planting trees in either Teague Park or Stamper Park.

"This is a good place for us to start, though, because it's easy to provide irrigation to trees in this area," Hara said. "It's somewhat more challenging to make sure trees in the parks are getting enough water."

While complete invoices for all the trees were not yet in, Hara estimated total costs for the trees planted today were about $4,500.

Mayor Jay Dean said he appreciated the efforts of Keep Longview Beautiful to add trees to municipal property, but said Longview needs trees throughout the city.

"I really want to encourage all property owners to add trees to their home or business landscaping if it's possible," Dean said. "That will do a lot to help our community recover from the drought."

Dan Duncum of the Texas A&M Forest Service gave tips on tree health as he planted a trident maple in the esplanade between the library and city hall.

"I'm unapologetically a tree person," Duncum said. "While grass, flowers and shrubs are all important elements, nothing else in landscaping provides the visual and environmental impact of trees."

Duncum encouraged parents and grandparents to get children involved in planting trees.

"Don't worry if they're not doing it 'right' and are throwing dirt at each other or whatever," Duncum said. "You can always go back and fix things a little later. It's more important to get kids comfortable with dirt and plants and excited about improving the environment."



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