A forester once told me that you know a drought is severe if you see Red Cedar trees dying. All around the county, you can see Cedars in tree rows and windbreaks dead and brown. If you are looking to replace your tree row, The Kansas Forest Service offers low-cost tree and shrub seedlings for use in conservation plantings. Plants are one to two years old and sizes vary from 5 to 18 inches, depending on species. Orders are accepted from now through the first full week in May each year, but order early to insure receiving the items you want.
Orders are shipped from the second week of March through May 5. Approved uses for these plants include windbreaks, wood lots, riparian plantings, wildlife habitat and Christmas trees. They may not be used for landscape (ornamental) plantings or grown for resale.
All items are sold in units. Each single species unit consists of 25 plants. For example, a unit of Eastern red cedar has 25 trees per unit. Though a single species unit is most commonly purchased, four special bundles are also available including a songbird bundle, quail bundle, pheasant bundle and wildlife mast bundle.
Tree planting accessories are also available including marking flags, root protective slurry, rabbit protective tubes, weed barrier fabric and tree tubes. If there have been problems with deer browsing on young trees, the tree tubes are a must.
For details and an order form, go to: https://www.kansasforests.org/public_saps/Welcome.aspx. Order forms and information on tree species, as well as tree care is also available here at the Barton County Extension Office.
It is also recommended while you are planning your new or replacement windbreak to contact your local USDA-NRCS. The Barton County Conservation District has programs that may be able to offset some of the costs incurred as well as possibly give advice on planting and planning your new windrow.
The trees in our countryside are important for many reasons including wind erosion, snow collection, and help with extreme temperatures. If your tree row needs a little help, or an entire renovation, now is a good time to begin the planning for your next generation of trees.
Alicia Boor is the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Barton County K-state Research and Extension. One can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 620-793-1910