I certainly don’t claim to be a green thumb, but I did read today’s Morning News story about the Army Corps of Engineers saying that trees planted in the side of the Trinity levees wouldn’t increase the risk of a levee breach. The gist of the story is that the pro-tollroad people are showing drawings of lots and lots of trees around the tollroad, which is being built in the levee, meaning that lots of trees would be planted in the side of the levee to match all of the pretty pictures being shown around.
Which leads to two questions: Won’t tree roots eventually weaken the levee walls as the trees grow, and knowing how hot the sun pounds down on open areas here in Texas, how are the trees going to be kept alive anyway?
The Corps says "no," but logic seems to dictate (at least to me) that the roots of a tree eventually are going to spread out, loosening soil, etc. At least, that’s what the tree guy told me about a tree that was planted moderately close to my house. I’m sure it seemed like a good idea years ago long before I bought the house, but he told me that if I didn’t get rid of it, sooner or later, it would start harming the home’s foundation. Kind of a "seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time" thing that became a problem only later, when the original decision-makers were no longer around, I guess.
The other question, to which I didn’t see an answer in the story (if someone knows the answer, please post it here): Is there going to be some type of gigantic watering system implanted into the levee walls to keep all of this lush vegetation alive? If there is, won’t the irrigation system weaken the levee walls all by itself? If there isn’t, why bother to plant the trees in the first place, since they’re just going to look like matches with burnt tips stuck in the ground by the end of the first summer anyway?