Trees Atlanta to plant 109,000 native grass plugs on Eastside Trail

As we round the corner towards warmer weather, we are excited to announce the next big leap forward for the Eastside Trail! Working with our partner Trees Atlanta, more than 11 acres of native grasses will be hand-planted along the length of the trail, further elevating this world-class public space. Native landscaping, including trees, grasses, and flowers, are an integral component to the Atlanta BeltLine and Trees Atlanta’s Arboretum that will span the full 22-miles.

109,000 grass plugs will need your love and attention! Hundreds of volunteers will be needed for planting from March through May 2013 (or until all plugs are in the ground). Demonstration planting will take place in late February and early March between North Avenue and Ponce de Leon Avenue alongside Ponce City Market. By the end of March, volunteers will be needed in full force. Trees Atlanta will be leading plantings on select weekday morning starting around 9:30 a.m. and working until around lunchtime. Daily times are subject to change, so please see the full schedule and locations on Trees Atlanta’s website, arranged by months: April, March and May.

grass planting example 3
The grasses are already growing and 8.5 acres will be planted by hand this summer.

Why native grasses?

Native grasses and flowers create a prairie, which provides food, protection, and homes for birds, butterflies, and bees. This natural wildlife habitat requires minimal maintenance (such as mowing), which cuts down on damage to creatures and carbon emissions along the trail. The 11-acre meadow is a significant segment of the larger Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum that will ring the entire 22-mile loop around the city. Fifteen Georgia grasses and 28 flower species will add texture and bursts of color along the length of the trail. Meadows also contribute to enhanced water and soil quality while fighting erosion. The Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum itself will serve as a classroom for educators and students at all levels.

grass planting example
Above is an example of what a native grass planting looks like alongside a multi-use path.

This spring, the west side of the Eastside Trail will be fully planted. Select hillsides on the eastern side of the path will also be planted for a total of 8.5 acres. Prior to planting, the top ten inches of soil will be tilled and organic soil amendment will be added. Plantings must be complete by May in order to utilize the most optimal weather conditions. During the approximately six months that it takes for the native grasses to establish, protective netting will be placed within two feet of the trail in order to keep feet, paws, and wheels from damaging the delicately growing ecosystem. The remaining 2.5 acres on the eastern side of the path will be planted in 2014. We appreciate your patience as we continue to make the Atlanta BeltLine one of our city’s star amenities!

Save the date for Earth Day: April 20, 2013

The annual Atlanta BeltLine Earth Day event usually draws hundreds of volunteers into the corridor and, this year, will involve grass planting along the Eastside Trail. So, mark your calendar for Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and stay tuned to our site for details.

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