The Kansas Forest Service has partnered with Heartland Tree Alliance, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, K-State Research and Extension, Westar Energy Green Team and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service to plant diverse species of trees at three public locations in Kansas City in the month of October. The sites include Schlagle Library and Waterway Park in Kansas City, Kansas, and Windsor Park in Prairie Village.
The purpose of the project is to encourage planting different kinds of trees by showing the public examples of what these trees look like. Along a marked walking trail, signage at each tree provides the scientific name and its mature height and spread.
“People tend to stick with what is familiar and most comfortable to them,” said Kim Bomberger, district community forester with the Kansas Forest Service. “They choose landscape plants and trees by the names they recognize, like Bradford pear, maple, pampas grass, rose or oak. However, this is not a wise approach given the insect and disease threats and severe weather that affect trees in Kansas.”
Planting only one species of tree in a community can be disastrous when disease hits. Since the 1950s, Dutch elm disease has killed millions of American elm trees. Scotch and Austrian pines have been severely damaged by pine wilt since late 1970s.
"Dutch Elm" by Susan G. Lesch - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dutch_Elm.jpg#/media/File:Dutch_Elm.jpg