Trees, flowers could replace weeds on vacant lots

Poplar trees and flowers would replace weeds under a proposal Thursday to the city council.

April Mendez, a co-founder of Fresh Coast Capital, explained how the process could transform vacant lots.

The trees help clean contaminated ground and control water runoff because they use about three times as much water as other trees, she said.

They grow thin and straight up to eight feet a year and are harvested after 15 years, she said.

They have started projects in Flint, Mich., and Gary, Indiana, she said, but those did not involve flowers.

The flower farms would provide beauty and more steady income for private investors, Mendez said.

Ted Anderson of the city land bank said the program could make a significant dent in the more than 4,000 vacant lots it owns, lots that cost more than a million dollars a year to mow.

The city also owns land it uses to control water runoff, he said, and the trees would help with that.

Mendez said they would need land groupings of at least two acres that are nearly contiguous and would want to do 200 acres in the city in the next two years.

They would also be looking for private investors “who want to invest along with their values and impact they can have on the city.”

Kimiko Black Gilmore, assistant city manager, said feedback from neighborhoods so far has been positive on the plan.




  1. Jill DeWitt says:

    Poplar trees are not appropriate for this area. Please seek guidance from local foresters, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and Heartland Tree Alliance before proceeding. Other states are spending considerable money to have them removed.

  2. Ted Anderson says:

    The tree science is clear on these hybrid poplars, and they only plant males.

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