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Group Planting Over 2,000 Trees To Beautify Tulsa Highways

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The plan is to make I-44 a landscaped entrance to the city, and the planting starts Saturday. The plan is to make I-44 a landscaped entrance to the city, and the planting starts Saturday.
Renderings show what it's going to look like, once the trees have time to grow. Renderings show what it's going to look like, once the trees have time to grow.
Steve Grantham with Up With Trees. Steve Grantham with Up With Trees.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A bare stretch of Tulsa highway is about to have a landscaping transformation. Up with Trees is going to plant 2,200 trees on a section of Interstate 44.

All of the trees will be planted between Riverside and Yale, along with about three acres of wildflowers and flower beds.

The plan is to make I-44 a landscaped entrance to the city, and the planting starts Saturday.

There's a stash of trees in west Tulsa about to be moved to the right of way along I-44. The trees are a donation from the Tulsa Beautification Foundation, representing more than $2 million of landscaping improvements.

Steve Grantham with Up With Trees said, "The $2.2 million part of that is for five years of maintenance."

It's the single largest planting ever undertaken by Up With Trees, designed to make Tulsa's highways look more like parkland.

“And it's going to have that look to it. There will definitely be lots of sun for grass to grow, no mud puddles, but lots of trees, lots of diversity of trees, flowering trees, lots of fall color, evergreens as well,” Grantham said.

The plans are six years in the making, with blueprints that had to be state approved for specific plants in specific places.

It wasn't hard to find places to make improvements; when ODOT finished rebuilding the section of I-44, they didn't replace any trees that were removed and didn't plant anything besides grass.

Without Tulsans taking the initiative to do something, the highway would otherwise stay bare.

The larger plan is to continue rebuilding Tulsa's urban forest - it's still diminished from ice storm damage - and then to make highways more attractive.

The plantings will cover I-44 where there's free space - from Riverside to Yale. Renderings show what it's going to look like, once the trees have time to grow.

The most thoroughly landscaped part will be the Riverside junction with I-44.

Grantham said, “And it's going to be a great corridor to drive through; but exiting there, going down to the Gathering Place in a few years, it's going to be a great way to show what Tulsa is."

The planting starts Saturday morning at I-44 and Lewis. Up With Trees staff will do that, but are asking for public help with two more mass plantings the next two Saturdays.

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