Last fall, neighbors expressed anger and outrage on social media. Word on the street was that the City of Dallas wanted to murder trees in a field next to Lakewood Park on Williamson Road.

The situation was more complex than the panicked posts on Facebook, as is usually the case. Neighbors planted the trees in what the city hoped could become a restored blackland prairie, and the trees don’t belong in the prairie’s ecosystem.

At what began as a testy neighborhood meeting, Dallas’ urban biologist Brett Johnson explained the importance of the prairies and the fact that the trees don’t belong in that environment. The prairie is the most endangered environment in the country (only one percent remains). It once thrived in North Texas and provides habitat for migrating monarch butterflies, important grass species and more.

The meeting ended with a resolution to compromise on the tree removal, and Brett Johnson reported that the neighborhood and the city reached a deal.

Last fall, city representatives measured the trees at four and a half feet off the ground and one foot off the ground. They also took note of the trunk’s thickness. If the trees are greater than six inches in diameter at either of those heights when measured, they will remain in the ground, Johnson says.

The smaller trees will be removed and planted along the side of the SoPac trail, which runs adjacent to the prairie in question. This plan satisfies both the neighbors and city representatives, who planned to plant trees along the trail all along. Johnson says 11 trees will be left in the field. This should allow for right prairie grasses to grow.


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