Monday, May 13, 2013

Celebrating Arbor Day

by Julie Morris
Julie Morris is a Resource Specialist for the Indiana Department of Agriculture for the Division of Soil Conservation in the Pulaski County USDA Service Center.  Julie received her degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from Purdue University.  She loves to garden and is just starting to compost.  Julie is married and has a 3-year old boy plus a new St. Bernard puppy and lives in LaPorte County.

Nothing says Arbor Day more than wrapping over 1900 trees – except maybe planting all those trees. But that is what people in the northwest area of Indiana will be doing this spring. The LaPorte County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) sold almost 2000 trees this year. They held their annual tree wrap at the LaPorte County fairgrounds on Friday, April 26th. Some students and a teacher from Westville High School also came to help out. 

Tony Ekovich and Nate Mrozinski, LaPorte County SWCD board members, start to mix the moss with water to keep the tree roots moist until planting. 

LaPorte SWCD members and Westville High School students and teachers all helped wrapped and label the trees.

Here are two of the best tree planters around (my husband Charlie and son Nathan) planting some hazelnuts in our front yard that were purchased from the 2013 LaPorte County SWCD tree sale. Don’t be afraid to get dirty!

As a general rule, the width of the hole should be at least 3 times the spread of the roots in the case of bare root trees. When purchasing bare-rooted trees, inspect the roots to ensure that they are moist and have numerous lengths of fine root hairs. Care should be taken to ensure that the roots are kept moist in the period between purchasing and planting. Plant the tree seedling and fill loosely with soil. Then, gently firm around the seedling to eliminate air pockets around the roots. Do not stomp!

Our puppy, Spencer, is on lookout and checks on the newly planted hazelnuts.

And maybe, just maybe, you will find a worm or it’s family.

Nathan knows worms are good for gardens and farmland. They improve the structure of the soil. When they burrow, red worms till the soil around the root areas of plants, thus improving soil aeration, porosity, and permeability as well as aiding in water retention (due to increased access to plant roots), and drainage in the soil. All of these enhance mineral and moisture absorption of plants as well as reduce water use and soil erosion.

Don’t forget to give your trees lots of water!

Water trees at least once a week, if there hasn’t been any rainfall.

There are so many benefits to planting trees. Trees can provide shelter to many different types of wildlife, reduce your heating and cooling costs, help clean the air, add beauty and color, provide shelter from the wind and the sun, and add value to your home.

Many SWCDs have annual tree sales. Visit your local SWCD office for more information on available trees and order forms.

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