Trees Grow 3 Times Faster

November 17, 2007

VANCLEAVE — Nearly 150,000 small trees, grown quickly in New York from seeds collected on the Coast after Katrina, have been shipped to a new nursery in Vancleave for distribution on the Coast.

RPM Ecosystems Gulf Coast, a company that touts the technology to grow a plantable tree in 210 days, has joined with Replant South Mississippi in hopes of helping reach the goal of reforesting the urban areas of the Coast, stripped by the storm surge.

“We got involved because the number of urban trees that you guys need to restore is sort of overwhelming,” said P.J. Marshall, owner of RPM Ecosystems. “The urban forest is very important to the Coast.”

The best thing about the trees RPM Ecosystems delivers is they continue to grow quickly — three times faster than their traditional counterparts, and they are generally healthier.

RPM stands for Root Production Method, a patented system that grows root mass faster and better.

Judy Steckler, with the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, said she became interested in the RPM trees because the Coast needed something fast-growing “if we were going to see the trees replaced in our lifetime.”

She said RPM Ecosystems is providing help in finding funding for Replant’s ambitious program of planting 100,000 trees a year for three years. They are providing lesson plans for schools, and they are charging Replant wholesale prices instead of retail.

“They truly are interested in seeing the tree canopy replaced,” Steckler said.

The nursery in Vancleave is a distribution point on the Coast. It will also sell individual trees and small groups of trees to customers who purchase them online at the company’s Web site, rpmecosystems.com, company officials said. Click on the orange leaf with the words “Replant South Mississippi” to find the order form and species available.

There are also ways Coast residents can purchase trees for donation to Replant South Mississippi and purchase trees in memoriam.

Replant South Mississippi is led by the Land Trust in partnership with the Sun Herald, the Home Depot Foundation, Mississippi State University and local cities and community organizations.

Specializing in hardwoods and hard-to-establish native species, RPM Ecosystems has been growing trees in other areas of the country for restoration and conservation for more than 20 years.

The company’s new Gulf Coast nursery inventory is at Young’s Native Plant Nursery in Vancleave.

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