by Betty Struckhoff
The St. Louis Post Dispatch has published several articles regarding the decision to plant a monoculture of non-native London Plane trees (Platanus acerifolia) for new landscaping on the grounds of the St. Louis Arch. For example, read the original announcement, and this follow-up.
The articles have generated plenty of feedback, including a recent letter to the editor by Susan Pang, a habitat adviser with Bring Conservation Home. In her letter, Susan points out the reasons to avoid exotic specimens and suggests we choose native midwestern trees. Look for links to other articles and letters on the topic in the sidebar.
A few years ago, a similar issue came up with the landscaping for the new I-64 between I-270 and Kingshighway. After the public raised concerns about landscape choices, the Missouri Department of Transportation met with our own Scott Woodbury and other native plant experts to revise the plan. The result is attractive native trees and shrubs bordering our new highway.
We can make a difference. You can add your voice to the discussion by commenting on Susan’s letter, writing your own letter to the paper and/or giving feedback to CityArchRiver, the not-for-profit organization coordinating the plan.