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City of Grand Junction News

Posted on: December 3, 2020

Parks & Recreation Utilizes Aquaponics to Grow Plants

Aquaponics bed with trees growing

The City’s urban tree canopy is growing, due in part to innovative methods which allow the City to grow trees in a more natural and cost effective manner. The Parks & Recreation Department uses an aquaponics system to grow a variety of plants, including trees. Over fifty different tree varieties were recently planted in Sherwood Park. 

Instead of growing plants in containers, an aquaponics system uses fish waste as a natural fertilizer for plants while the trees grow in a soilless environment. Thanks to a $1,500 grant from the Colorado Tree Coalition, Parks & Recreation constructed an aquaponics bareroot tree production bed. The total cost of the aquaponics system was approximately $9,000. Trees were planted in the aquaponics bed last spring and some of the trees gained over 100 pounds in root mass over the summer. Using aquaponics instead of traditional planting methods has several benefits including cost savings and water conservation. Bareroot trees can be purchased at a younger age and lower cost, then developed using the aquaponics system until they are ready to be planted. This saves on resources and trees produced using this method have a better-developed root system compared to those grown in containers. The Parks & Recreation Department also uses an aquaponics system in their greenhouse to grow flowers for the summer season. Using this method to grow flowers helps to reduce the costs of purchasing flowers from outside vendors.

Using an aquaponics system has allowed the City to develop Grand Junction’s urban tree canopy by increasing the number of trees planted each year. The City continues to find and explore best practices that can help enhance the services offered to the community.


Contact: Greg LeBlanc, Sr. Assistant to the City Manager | 970-244-1557 or gregoryl@gjcity.org

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