Bridgeland Plants 250,000 Seedlings In Community Tree Farm
by David Weekley Homes
(Cypress, TX – Jan. 25, 2012) - Bridgeland is going green in a big way.
The master-planned community is planting more than 250,000 tree seedlings on a 1,300-acre parcel of undeveloped land as part of an ongoing tree farm operation. Eventually, nearly 700,000 trees will be planted.
The project began in 2006 and during the ensuing five years, more than 80,000 trees were planted on 507 acres. In 2013, the project will finish with its biggest effort — more than 350,000 trees planted on an additional 1,300 acres.
The year-old seedlings include a variety of trees, including loblolly pines and six species of oak trees: live oak, nuttall oaks, swamp chestnut oaks, willow oaks, laurel oaks and Monterrey oaks. Trees are moved to more developed areas of Bridgeland when caliper size exceeds four inches.
Some of the earliest plantings of loblolly pines have reached that size and crews are now moving these select trees to more developed areas. The young oaks will need another year or two before being moved and replanted. Since they are not irrigated, the seedlings are planted between December and February, allowing them to become established before often brutal summer heat.
The increase in the number of seedlings planted this year is partly in response to last year’s severe drought, during which an extraordinary number of trees and other plants were lost throughout the Houston area.
“We needed to replace the 150 acres of tree seedlings planted last year because there was insufficient rainfall for the seedlings to take,” said Tricia Brasseaux, design project manager for Bridgeland.
In addition to the 150-acre tree farm, Bridgeland experienced a 5 to 10 percent mortality rate for established trees in the community. Other areas of Houston experienced similar losses and are undertaking reforestation projects, including Re-Plant Houston, a move by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department to plant more than 25,000 trees in four parks.
However, Bridgeland would have increased the number of seedlings planted even without last year’s drought.
“We have had such success with the previous tree plantings that we decided to increase the acreage this year to include everything west of the Grand Parkway and south of House Hahl Road. When it’s time to develop this area many years from now, these seedlings will provide us with an existing vegetative canopy,” Brasseaux said.
This year’s reforestation project also includes planting a 150-foot buffer of loblolly pines on either side of a transmission power line corridor that runs north-south in a currently undeveloped part of Bridgeland. When the surrounding area is platted for homes in more than 10 years, residents will be able to enjoy a wooded park and trail area.
“Utility corridors are often a necessity in large-scale developments such as Bridgeland,” said Peter Houghton, vice president of the master-planned community. “Where homes in these areas often sell for less because of the transmission lines, we are going to convert the corridor to yet another amenity, hopefully making nearby homes a coveted area.”
Bridgeland has often been awarded for excellence in development and most recently won a Community of the Year Silver Award from the National Association of Home Builders in The Nationals’ 2011 competition and was named Developer of the Year in the Texas Association of Builders’ 2011 Star Awards for a second consecutive win. Bridgeland also was named Master-Planned Community of the Year during The Nationals’ 2009 Gold Awards, topping both national and international entrants, and is a finalist in the 2012 competition, whose winners will be announced next month.
The Bridgeland community is a development of the Howard Hughes Corporation, which owns, manages and develops commercial, residential and mixed-use real estate throughout the United States, including Las Vegas, Manhattan and Honolulu. As owner of Bridgeland and The Woodlands, the Howard Hughes Corporation is one of the largest master-planned community developers in the Houston area.