Texas ReLeaf celebrates first tree planting in Magnolia

Community leaders and volunteers gathered Dec. 6 at Montgomery County Precinct 2's new office building to erect the first of 1,000 trees ReLeaf plans to distribute among Montgomery, Waller and Grimes counties.

In an effort to beautify and breathe life back into the community scorched by drought and wildfires in 2011, ReLeaf applied for and received a $25,000 grant from Anheuser-Busch to pay for tree installments in residential and commercial spaces. Founded by John Warner, urban district forester for the Texas A&M Forest Service, the program allowed for residents affected by last year's extreme weather to apply for a tree to be planted on their property. Five hundred trees will be planted this month during phase one of the project, and phase two will begin in March to distribute the remaining 500. About 150 trees will be planted in Magnolia.

" We are grateful to the Texas Forest Service for not only their help during the wildfires, but in helping us recover," said Precinct 2 Commissioner Craig Doyal.

Warner said wildfires in 2011 burned 23,000 acres in the three affected counties, and some residents lost 30 acres and their homes.

ReLeaf will distribute four types of native trees, including Shumard Oak, Redbud, Southern Magnolia and Cedar Elm. All are tough tree specimens, Warner said.

The program also provides recipients with a tree guard to protect its base and a water bag which will drip water to its roots and requires refilling every 14 days.

For more information on Texas ReLeaf, visit www.kmcbtexas.org/releaf. Residents who signed up for the program will pick up their trees from 1–4 p.m. Dec. 8 at Magnolia City Hall.