'In the Know' Articles



In the Know: Identifying tips and practices for a more sustainable future


Texas city reduces maintenance costs and environmental impacts of landscaping

Missouri City, TX – the “Show Me City” – was recently recognized by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) for its environmental efforts, earning H-GAC’s Policy Tools award for its ‘Go Native’ policy to plant native plants around City facilities.

“In recent years, the trend for new city facility development has been to plant decorative landscape beds around these new facilities,” said Missouri City Forester Paul Wierzbicki. “Although they are visually appealing at the time of planting, these areas have added a great deal of maintenance to an already over-extended maintenance staff, due mostly to the fact that many of the plant choices required specialized attention.”

To address this, the City established its “Go Native” policy in 2013 with the help of Missouri City Green volunteers. Developed by Missouri City Parks & Recreation staff to transform high-maintenance landscapes around City facilities and right-of-way, the policy prioritizes more adaptable native plants – such as lantana, salvia and Turk’s cap – in order to reduce irrigation, pesticide needs and maintenance costs.

“’Go Native’ began when we replaced the landscaping at the Missouri City Library entrance with a freedom oak (live oak) and lantana and Turk’s cap,” Wierzbicki said. “We expanded the program to the Tennis Center by renovating the front entrance landscaping in 2014 by taking out the non-natives and putting in varieties of natives. We have been slowly transforming the landscaping at City Hall and Buffalo Run Park with a similar goal of reducing watering costs and pesticide use and eliminating plant change-out.”

The “Go Native” policy has successfully established plant longevity, cutting maintenance time in half and reducing watering needs by two-thirds.




For additional information:
Paul Wierzbicki
Missouri City Forester