Joplin Parks Reforestation Project

Tree 1
The value of trees in a community is often overshadowed by other aesthetic elements. However, following the May 2011 tornado that reduced 17,000 trees to stumps across the City, it brought to light the significance of a healthy urban forest in city parks, neighborhoods, and along streets.

Since 2011, efforts have been made to recreate the urban canopy that once shaded Joplin. Each year, thanks to cooperative partners such as Missouri Department of Conservation, the Joplin Parks & Recreation Department is replanting and ensuring the urban forest stays healthy for future generations to enjoy. 

2018 Pruning Project

In 2018, the Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grant added $10,000 to the City’s efforts of tree trimming on 1,747 trees in Dover Hill, Campbell Parkway, Landreth, McIndoe, McClelland, Iron Gates, Leonard, and Parr Hill Parks.  Pruning young trees allows setting the structure of the tree for the future which reduces future structural problems that may lead to early tree failure, potential safety issues, and removal earlier in the trees life than necessary.

“We appreciate the Missouri Department of Conservation providing the resources for our work related to trees in Joplin,” said Jake Cowen with Joplin Parks and Recreation. “The tree survey was the first step in getting a snapshot of the health of our tree canopy. Following that work, we were able to focus on trimming a large number of trees. It’s an important and necessary step in tree care and will benefit our community with a stronger tree canopy in our parks.”

2017 Tree Inventory 

The 2017 inventory work focuses mainly on trees in public right-of-ways. McDaniel estimated that 6,000 trees were studied during the inventory. Other inventories will be needed to measure the rest of Joplin’s public trees.

“We lost about 17,000 trees as a result of the tornado, however many of those were private trees,” he said. “The survey will give us good information about the number of trees in the public areas, as well as their condition. In knowing more about our current stock, it will help us maintain them more effectively, and plant trees according to the identified needs in the survey.”

Each tree was recorded for its size, species, the GPS coordinates of its physical location, and a hazard assessment, which notes items such as dead limbs, poor structure, the potential failure of a tree, or widow makers (broken limbs in upper branches). 

To learn more about Joplin’s current tree inventory and its condition, the City conducted a tree survey. Funded through a $25,000 Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) Grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation, the survey will be completed in three phases. Initial surveying took place in 2016 and focused on parks, cemeteries, and other public areas. The 2017 focus was on the central area of Joplin that was struck by the tornado. 

To view the Joplin online tree inventory, click here

About the TRIM Grant

TRIM is a competitive, cost-share tree care program administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation in cooperation with the Missouri Community Forest Council. The program assists government agencies, public schools, and nonprofit groups with the management, improvement, or conservation of trees on public lands. Projects eligible for TRIM funding include tree inventory, removal or pruning of hazardous trees, tree planting, and training of volunteers and city/county employees to best care for our community forests.

The City of Joplin has received TRIM grants in the past for educational materials and conferences. This type of support is beneficial to the City in maintaining its Tree City USA status.