Mother Nature Gets Head Start In Pass Christian

Imagine getting some of the coast's greenery back in half the time. Two organizations dedicated to nature and preservation have found a way to make that happen in Pass Christian. This weekend, the Land Trust and Pass Road To The Future will plant hundreds of trees that grow much faster than your average tree.

When Land Trust received a grant to buy 320 trees to plant around the city of Pass Christian, officials decided bigger was better. In came hundreds of trees grown from Florida and Missouri nurseries using what's called the Root Production Method or RPM. Officials say in nature, the tap root develops first. Then come the smaller fibrous roots that increase the tree's height and diameter. The RPM method cuts the tap root, therefore, speeding  the process along.

"The Red Oaks, the Water Tupelo, the Eastern Red Cedar and the Red maples at 210 days old, and they are about five feet tall,"said Judy Steckler of Land Trust.

"So we will see these trees mature in about five years and be full size trees which would normally take about 15 years. The oak trees which we'll be planting are 3-years-old, and  they are about 20 feet tall now. If this was an oak tree grown by the usual method, it would be considerably smaller. The oak trees will be mature in 20 years instead of the usual 60 years it takes."

The long term recovery group, Pass Road To The Future, is partnering with the Land Trust on this project. They're excited not to have wait so long for Mother Nature to turn Pass Christian green again.

Gayla Schmidt chairs a committee for the Pass Road to The Future called Releafing The Pass.

"These give us a lot of hope. When you have the larger trees you can actually think in my lifetime these trees may be big enough to provide shade. To tell the truth that's what we lost was the shade. We were a Tree City USA and a very shady town. Now we're a very sunny town and by having these a little bigger maybe by next summer someone can sit it the shade of this tree."

Volunteers are needed for Saturday's tree planting starting at 8 am at War Memorial Park in Pass Christian.  Organizers say although the trees were grown in out-of-state nurseries the trees are all native to Mississippi.