MANKATO, Minn. — Properly selected and placed trees and shrubs in the landscape can offer multiple benefits to both urban and rural areas.
The benefits of trees and shrubs include producing edible fruit or nuts, saving energy (heating and cooling), protection from the wind or snow, increase property value, protect soil, and water resources, carbon sequestration, increase wildlife habitat, provide living screens, and beautify the land. When selecting trees and shrubs for your landscape, always plant a variety of species to help protect against invasive insect pests or disease pathogens infesting and damaging your plantings.
Arbor Day is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April, and May is Arbor Month. (www.arborday.org/)
Winter months is a wonderful time to plan for tree plantings in the spring. County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) offices may offer winter tree sale opportunities. Contact your County SWCD office to see if they have a tree program. If they don’t other surrounding SWCD offices may have.
The University of Minnesota Extension offers resources to help you decide what kind of trees to plant in your region,http://z.umn.edu/rectrees. Minnesota residents must consider planting shade trees other than green ash, since emerald ash borer (EAB) was found in the state in 2009. Visit Extension’s emerald ash borer website at https://extension.umn.edu/tree-and-shrub-insects/emerald-ash-borers to learn more about EAB, alternative shade trees and the MDA – EAB program in MN: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/eab
Other helpful web sites include:
- Plant Selector Program (MnDOT) https://plantp.dot.state.mn.us/plant/
- Tree planting and care (MN DNR) www.dnr.state.mn.us/treecare/index.html
- What’s wrong with my plant, diagnostic website http://z.umn.edu/diagnose (Plant Disease Clinic & Soil Test Lab)
- Edible Fruits and Nuts http://z.umn.edu/edibles
For local assistance with tree and shrub selections contact garden and tree nurseries, certified arborists, Tree Care Advisors (http://www.mntca.umn.edu/tree-care-advisor), Master Gardeners (http://z.umn.edu/mnmg), the UM Extension office, Soil and Water Conservation District office and the Natural Resources Conservation Service office (NRCS). The NRCS continues to offer cost-share and technical assistance to landowners for tree planting through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) with new emphasis and priority given to Climate Smart projects which includes tree planting. A list of County NRCS offices can be found here, call ahead, and make appointments. Home | NRCS Minnesota (usda.gov). MN NRCS State Forester, Callie Bertsch says, “The NRCS recognizes the importance of tree plantings as vital components of source water protection and carbon storage and sequestration.”
Remember, diversify your landscape, no one species should represent more than 15 percent of your landscape. Make it a family activity to plant trees or shrubs this year. You can pass on the benefits of trees when you explain them to your children.
— University of Minnesota Extension