Louisville’s Olmsted Parkways Receive 319 New Trees

Southern Parkway (formerly Grand Avenue) circa 1926

From Louisville Metro Parks

Louisville’s historic Olmsted Parkways are getting a healthy dose of new trees.

Mayor Jerry Abramson announced that Metro Parks is currently planting 319 new trees along the 15-mile parkway system that was originally designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. The non-profit Olmsted Parks Conservancy contributed $26,000 for this year’s tree-planting effort, with Metro Parks providing the labor. Abramson has placed a priority on planting trees through his Community of Trees initiative.

Metro Parks is planting 30 percent more trees this year on parkways than they did the year before. “This public-private collaboration with the Olmsted Parks Conservancy represents a significant commitment to preserve the character of our city’s six magnificent Olmsted Parkways,” said Abramson. “In 2009, we lost twice as many parkway trees as the year before – partly because of major storms – so we’re pleased we’ve been able to stay ahead of the curve on tree plantings.”

Metro Parks removed 103 trees from the Olmsted Parkways in 2009 because of storm damage, age and disease. At the end of the current planting season, there should be 5,425 trees along the 15-mile parkway system – more trees than at any period in recent history. “These tree-lined parkways provide important aesthetic, environmental and cultural benefits, not just for parkway residents, but for the entire community,” said Mimi Zinniel, Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s president. “Since 2007, Olmsted Parks Conservancy and its donors have invested over $66,000 to keep the visual and physical continuity of the parkways as seen by Frederick Law Olmsted in his original design.”

Metro Parks selects tree-planting locations based on the original design plans for the Olmsted Parkways, and takes overhead and underground utilities into account when selecting tree species. After the trees are planted, forestry crews inspect and water the trees for three years to ensure they remain healthy. The department plants a diverse stock of trees in parks and along parkways, to minimize the impact of diseases and infestations that can affect individual tree species. This year, Metro Parks is planting 31 species of trees, including red maple, sugar maple, swamp white oak, overcup oak, black gum, sweet gum and pecan.


Algonquin Parkway – 11 new trees

Eastern Parkway – 93

Northwestern Parkway – 73

Southern Parkway – 124

Southwestern – 18

Total: 319


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