Planting Detroit: U-Haul funds Tree planting in Rouge Park

Rouge Park Tree Planting Detroit

Through funding from U-Haul and U-Haul customers to The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero program, 450 trees were planted in Rouge Park in Detroit on September 28.  The volunteers came by foot, cars, buses and planes – nearly 200 of them, to plant 450 trees in the Rouge Park  Saturday 9/28/13. What a great turn out. Set up was complete by 9:00 and there were special guests on site to speak about the project. Senator Levin, David Ruff (U-Haul), Wendy Sams-Richardson (The Conservation Fund), and Rebecca Salminen-Witt (Greening of Detroit) all spoke about the importance of continued community action, and the need for government support and business investment in Detroit.

U-Haul is absolutely investing in Detroit. After more than a year of renovation, the once abandoned NBC building in Midtown is open for business as a U-Haul Self Storage and Moving Center. U-Haul has a long history of taking unused properties and turning them into productive businesses that provide for local job growth and neighborhood improvement. We also have a long history of positive community involvement. Detroit is no exception.  In addition to investing in the NBC building, U-Haul has committed to partner with The Conservation Fund and Greening of Detroit to fund the planting of 1,600 trees in Rouge Park on the corner of Outer Drive and West Warren Avenue. The first planting took place this past Saturday.

After the speakers were finished, the volunteers (most dressed in U-Haul orange) each grabbed a shovel, rake and a Maddox and got to work.  75 large trees were planted along the front of the parcel to provide a future “natural barrier” to discourage cars driving through the park. On the back end of the parcel 375 smaller trees were planted. Plans include four more plantings over the next year to fill in the remaining 2.5 acres. A citizen forester was assigned to each small group to explain and demonstrate how to properly plant the trees. This instruction is crucial to Greening’s 94% survival rate over the history of their plantings.

Planting was hard work for the folks planting the large trees. It took considerable effort to dig through the clay that was filled with rocks and construction debris, but the volunteers persevered! By 2:00 in the afternoon all the trees were in the ground, watered and covered in nutritional mulch. Hundreds of pieces of digging equipment were collected and empty water buckets were stacked and stored for the next event. Volunteers left sweaty, muddy and no doubt sore from head to toe. It was a great display of community effort and careful concern of the environment around them.

We want to give a special thanks to The Conservation Fund, Greening of Detroit, U-Haul volunteers and our wonderful customers who have contributed with donations! Learn more about this project on

 Have you seen the improvements at Rouge Park?  Tell us what you think below! 

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