When the Soulard Historic District was established in the 1970s there were few trees on the streets. It was a ‘concrete jungle.’ The Soulard Restoration Group worked diligently with the City to plant street trees. In many cases SRG paid for sawing tree wells in swaths of concrete sidewalks to accommodate the trees. Residents were encouraged to allow for street trees when replacing sidewalks during renovations. Funds were raised for matching grants to plant trees.
Over time Soulard became much greener, cooler, and more beautiful. However, through the years, many of those trees have been lost due to storms, vandalism, and disease. Most recent evidence is the loss of numerous Green Ash to the ash borer.
One of the immediate goals of the CID is to commence replacement of the missing street trees. CID Board members found more than 250 missing sites within District boundaries. To start the project, 30 trees were planted in the latter 2021 season.
An agreement was worked out so that the trees would be purchased by the CID and planted by the Forestry Division. That task was completed. Forestry planted a variety of trees including Blackgum, Serviceberries, Kentucky Coffeetrees, Redbuds and English Oaks. Trees were selected by Forestry for previous performance in urban areas.
The CID is contracted with DJM Ecological Services to water the trees for the summer. Consistent watering is an important factor in the success of newly planted trees. The CID continues to update its data about missing trees and working with Forestry to prepare more tree wells for planting. Additionally, the CID is monitoring the 30 trees in our current program to determine what’s working, as well as any changes that need to be made.