Four Tree Stewards, two nursery staff, and Jimmy Zabriskie, Community Forester, planted five Spartan Junipers on May 15th at Salopek Park as part of the Parks & Recreation (Parks) Department’s tree planting master plan.
The project helped Parks surpass its goal of planting 300 trees per fiscal year. Altogether, 303 trees have been planted since October 17th, 2017. Trees were planted at 12 parks, five facilities, two sports facilities, along one trail, and in one right-of-way. Parks and Recreation staff planted 220, Tree Stewards planted 48, and a contractor planted 35.
One of the objectives of Parks is to plant a diversity of trees. Diversity helps ensure that massive die-offs of trees will not occur if a new insect or disease is introduced into the area.
Dutch Elm Disease is a perfect example of entire streets, neighborhoods, cities, and woodlands full of American Elm trees being killed. Planting different species from different plant families is a good way to avoid this sad situation. Parks planted 28 different species of 19 different genera representing 12 plant families.
“In almost nine months in this position, it has become very apparent to me the value that Tree Stewards provide to me, my department, and our city,” Zabriskie said. “Without their help, I would be hard pressed to meet our tree planting goal.
"Their enthusiasm to learn, help, and share their knowledge is an inspiration to me. I look forward to working with them as it gets me out of the office and gives me a chance to get my hands in the dirt alongside fellow tree lovers. This is a great group of people that care about the environment, the city, and our children’s future. I can’t thank them enough for all they do to give back to the community and for the future generations that will call Las Cruces their home.”