How happy can new trees make you? Well, if you’re us, really, really, really happy! Over the past couple of months, our can-do crew from Mike’s Stump Grinding have been cutting down dead and dying trees, digging up stumps and roots, prepping the tree wells for new trees, and now, planting 77 new Red Maple, Shumard Oaks, Lacebark Elms, Sweet Olives, Savannah Holly  and Chinese Pistache. What a job it has been!

Many of the trees died in the big ice/snow event of two years ago, and at the urging of former District B councilwoman LeVette Fuller, the city of Shreveport paid to fund their replacements.

All we can say is, what a difference live trees make to downtown! Over the next few years, they will all (we hope) bush out and bloom, making downtown an even more inviting place.

Former LSU Ag Center Forester/arborist Ricky Kilpatrick has been advising us on the tree project and he encouraged us to incorporate more trees that have beautiful fall foliage. We were able to do that with more Red Maple and Chinese Pistache, a tree that has vibrant fall colors.

Red Maple

Having that wonderful pop of color downtown makes the streetscape warm and appealing. Green is great, but the fall calls for color!

The first hint of fall is bringing out color in these downtown trees.

While the funding allocated may not allow be enough for all impaired trees to be replaced, it will definitely make a BIG difference.

By March, empty tree grates will sprout new trees that will eventually grow into the canopy that is so necessary for an attractive and pedestrian-friendly downtown. Stay tuned for more!

Story from Nov. 23, 2022

A frantic text over the weekend asked for response to the rumor that ‘all the trees downtown were being removed’!  We would be frantic about that, too, but rest easy, that is not what is happening. Some trees ARE being removed, victims of the harsh urban environment for trees and…Snowmaggeddon. The extended deep freeze in early 2021 wreaked havoc on downtown trees, some of which, according to our forester/arborist, ‘are dead but just don’t know it.”

600 block of Texas Street

400 block of Texas Street

200 block of Texas Street

500 block of McNeil Street

The trees were becoming a hazard, and some were large enough to do damage to pedestrians or property if they fell. The trees belong to the city and the maintenance is theirs to shoulder, too, but sometimes there just aren’t enough folks to do all the work. So in 2021, the DDA asked District B Councilwoman LeVette Fuller to earmark some money for downtown trees. The budget amendment passed with unanimous support of the Council, and DDA was able to hire for the removal of a number of dead and dying trees, removal of stumps left when other dead trees were cut and the removal of roots left behind in tree wells that would prevent the planting of another tree. It has been a project more complex and challenging than we ever would have believed.

One of the tools of the trade- a tree shear


The cleared tree wells awaiting a new tree.

The next phase of the project is replacing trees that will be appropriate to the shade/sun environment where they are planted in enough time for them to get established before warm weather returns.

The master list of trees that we compiled for this project. Whew.

Since receiving the city funding in late spring of this year, we have been working to create a tree census downtown to determine the actual number of missing, dead and dying trees, to determine which trees need pruning and other maintenance, where there are empty grates that contain roots and stumps, where trees have grown into the grates, where trees cannot be replanted because of new building awnings or other impediments, where to plant the shade tolerant and intolerant trees, and to answer the myriad of questions that seem to come up each day.

We are being assisted in our task by Ricky Kilpatrick, friend to downtown trees, arborist, and former LSU AgCenter timber expert. We like to say that Ricky has forgotten more about trees than we will ever know.

Sun scald on a Maple tree.

It is Ricky who fills us in on things like sun scald, an issue that affects the bark on Maple trees (but only in colder weather months. It doesn’t kill the trees, but it makes them very ugly). These are things we need to know. If Maple trees are going to look ugly, do we want to add more Maples?

Our downtown canopy is incredibly important, and is as much art as science. You want trees that will thrive, but you also want trees that will look good, not be affected by some new bug or blight, not shed squishy fruit, and eventually provide good shade. It is a tall order.

Our trees add so much to downtown streets!

So, hang with us and know that change is coming. It won’t be overnight, but we will – with great help from the City- be able to make a good dent in tree replacement over the next couple of months!