The Shelby Soil and Water Conservation District is taking orders for its annual tree seedling sale. Orders will be taken through Friday, April 2. The seedlings should be available for planting the second week of April. However placing your order now will assure you of getting what you want. Some species sell out early. These seedlings are bare-root, 12-inches to 18-inches tall. A variety of large hardwoods, small trees, shrubs and conifers are available in packs of five. Because of naturally available moisture, spring is a good time to plant this type of seedling.
As you look around the county, the aftermath of the emerald ash borer infestation is obvious. Whether it’s in our parks, local woodlots or in back yards, thousands of trees have been lost. This terrible situation serves as a reminder that it’s a good idea to plant a variety of species rather than just one.
The species we have available will grow well in this area but should be matched to your situation. Available space is important. Although the tree is small now, consider the mature size of the tree before planting. Look overhead for power lines. Know what is below the ground. Are there drain tile that can be plugged by roots? Water and sewer lines should be located. Will a tree eventually cause problems with buildings or a neighbor’s property? Soil type and moisture conditions are important. Some trees grow well in situations that are wet. Some don’t like to have their feet wet. The staff here can help with these concerns.
There are lots of reasons for planting trees. Shade, beauty, windbreaks and wildlife habitat are just a few. On a hot July afternoon shade from a tree anywhere on your site is welcome, however, if shade for the house is the goal, placement is important. Trees on the east and west side of the house will protect it from the early morning and late afternoon sun in summer. Trees on the south side however, may not provide the shade needed. In the summer, since the sun is nearly overhead, a tree on the south side will not provide much shade unless it’s growing close to the house (keep in mind the mature size of a tree). A tree planted close to the house can quickly outgrow its space before providing the desired shade. In the winter it can block out some of the warming sun because the sun is lower on the horizon.
Winter this year reminded us how uncomfortable cold wind and snow can be. Trees can be planted to form windbreaks. A well designed windbreak slows the wind and can help reduce energy costs. It does require a substantial amount of space, however. Windbreaks can also lower noise levels, block out surrounding views and provide food and cover for a variety of wildlife. Again, our staff can answer questions concerning placement of windbreaks.
Watching birds and other small wildlife can be enjoyable. Shrubs and small trees that provide food and cover can be planted in locations visible from windows. Plantings can be placed so they will provide shade for an air conditioning unit, increasing its efficiency.
Trees are a long term investment, but if planted properly, are well worth it. An order form for the seedlings can be found by stopping by our office at 822 Fair Road, Sidney, next to the fairgrounds, or on our Facebook or website at www.shelbyswcd.org. An order form can also be emailed. Call 937-492-6520.
The writer is a district technician for the Shelby Soil & Water Conservation District.