Think spring and planting trees

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

Now that most of the snow has melted and we’ve reached spring-like temperatures, I’m truly getting my green thumb on for spring. Many of us gardening enthusiasts are looking forward to spring and counting the days when we can get seed planted for our flower and vegetable gardens.

Trees can also mean spring and are now available through the Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) — orders are due by March 5.

Essentially, the ideal time of year to plant a tree is when we receive regular rainfall. Based on that, both spring and fall are good times to plant because these are times of the year when we tend to get more regular rainfall.

Regardless of when you plant, the survival of the tree depends on its care for those first 2-3 years.

The first watering after planting should be a deep soaking. It is also critical newly planted trees are well-watered going into their first summer or winter. Continue to provide supplemental watering at least once a week after planting.

If Mother Nature yields one inch of precipitation, then you can skip watering for that week. You will need to keep an eye on the water for up to three years, which is the time it can take for a tree to become fully established.

The Clinton SWCD tree sale has many different trees to choose from including conifers that will include Scotch and Austrian pines, Fraser fir, Colorado and Norway spruce, and Arborvitae.

They also have shrub species including red osier dogwood and black chokeberry.

The deciduous tree selection will include American hazelnut, black walnut, sugar and red maple, river birch, pin and northern red oak.

Each of the previous mentioned trees come in packets of 10 to 25 trees and they cost $20 to $30 for each packet of trees. The Clinton SWCD is also offering a Hardwood Packet of trees that includes 5 Black Walnut, 5 Red Oak, 5 Sugar Maple, 5 Red Maple, and 5 Pin Oak for $30. All these trees will come as seedlings from one to four years and average size will be from six to 18 inches.

Trees have many uses serving many functions. People normally think only of a tree’s ability to beautify an area, but there are other benefits as well:

• Trees reduce direct light and glare. Dense foliage and branching can reduce light intensity, while loose foliage allows moderate infiltration of light.

When reflecting surfaces are involved, the tree should be placed either between the sun and the reflecting surface, or between the reflecting surface and the viewer.

• Trees provide sound control. Noises from nearby highways, industries, and playgrounds can be reduced when used in conjunction with landforms and other solid barriers.

The degree of sound control depends on the density of the planting. Include evergreens as well as deciduous trees for effective year-round sound control.

• Trees provide erosion control. Trees with coarse leaf textures, horizontal branching habits, fibrous root systems, and rough bark can help slow water movement and reduce wind speed, thus reducing soil erosion from rain and wind.

• Trees can control climate. Plants can modify the environment on a small scale. Deciduous trees allow the light to pass through the leafless canopy during the winter months and warm up a structure beneath. The leaves then shade that same structure during the summer months and keep the building cooler.

Areas beneath trees are somewhat protected from the effects of precipitation. Raindrops are intercepted by leaves, which lessen the impact on the soil below. A windbreak of evergreens will filter wind and allow snow to be deposited in an area about 1 ½ times the height of the screen downwind of the planting.

• Trees have aesthetic function. Trees add beauty and interest to urban and suburban areas. Urban areas are often harsh and are greatly softened by the presence of trees. Trees can enhance architectural designs, provide privacy and frame views. Varying textures and colors of foliage, flowers, bark, and fruit create multiple seasons of interest.

• Trees are known to affect property appraisals. Real estate appraisers classically value an attractively planted home higher than they would an unplanted home.

Again, tree orders are due by March 5. For more information about ordering trees, contact the Clinton County Soil and Water District at 937-382-2461, ext. 2611, or stop in their office at 111 S. Nelson the Clinton County Annex Building.

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

Tony Nye

OSU Extension