By Sue Wiegrefe
Most people can relate to the relief of stepping into the shade of a tree on a hot summer day. There are many less-obvious benefits of trees in our landscapes – for instance, their role in reducing noise, air pollution, and wind erosion. Their role in removing carbon dioxide from the air and holding it in solid form helps slow climate change. Their beauty and attractiveness for wildlife can calm and entertain us. As the Chinese proverb wisely states… “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the second best time is now.”
February is the time to plan for your spring planting of trees and shrubs. The SWCD Tree Program offers quality stock at reasonable prices. A variety of bare root shrubs, deciduous trees, conifers and potted conifers along with fertilizer packets and tree mats with staples are available to purchase. Quantities are limited, so order your trees early for the best selection. If you would like to order a tree or shrub not listed on our order form, please contact the SWCD Office at (507) 765-3878, ext. 3, and we can check availability from our supplier.
To make planting easier and more efficient we have tree bars and tree planters available for rent. Give the District a call to reserve the tree planter.
The deadline for orders is Friday, February 21 along with full payment. You will be notified by postcard and/or email of tree pick-up days, times and location, which usually occurs in late April.
A couple of new items have been added for your planting pleasure. Tree tubes have long been prized for the acceleration of growth and protection from animals that they provide. There have been down sides, however. Some trees have experienced cold injury due to the trees not sensing the change of seasons due to the elevated temperatures inside, and not hardening off. Birds – especially bluebirds – have died when they drop to capture insects but cannot climb or fly out of the tubes. An innovative design by an Eagan, Minn., firm, Plantra, has solved those two problems and also encourages stronger stem development by using a fiberglass stabilizing rod that bends in the wind. We will be selling these in packs of 10. A sample will be on hand at the office if you are curious.
We have also added a bee-friendly lawn mix which is a blend of three grasses and three short, nectar-producing flower species. The grasses are chewings, creeping red, and hard fescues and the flowers are white Dutch clover, self heal, and creeping thyme. They can be maintained as a lawn mown at three inches.
Order forms along with descriptions are available in this insert, on our website at www.fillmoreswcd.org, or at the SWCD office in Preston at 900 Washington Street NW.