Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District is excited to announce the annual Tree and Shrub Sale! Folks are strongly encouraged to order as soon as possible, as the deadline for tree and shrub orders is April 1, and apple tree orders (new this year!) are due by March 15.
George Squires, district manager at Soil & Water, says, “People should get their orders in as soon as possible, we don’t want to disappoint people, so if you order early, there is still a good chance that your favorite varieties will be available.”
Contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District to learn more and place your order: Genesee County -- (585) 343-2362.
The story below was written by Katherine Bailey, AmeriCorps intern at Genesee County SWCD
Why should you consider planting native tree and shrub species? Meet Joe Magee, resident of Stafford, Ph.D in Chemistry from UB, and avid native tree lover. Starting in 1996, Magee has purchased native tree seedlings from both Monroe and Genesee County Soil & Water tree and shrub programs. When asked why he wanted to plant so many trees on his 83 acres, he simply replied, “I wanted to live in the woods.”
Magee has come a long way in making his dream happen: 20,000 trees have been planted, many of them black cherry, white oak, red oak, black walnut, Austrian pine, Norway spruce, and white pine. For Magee, planting trees doesn’t stop the moment you plant them in the ground; they need to be taken care of, and he has made sure that all of his hardwood seedlings have ample protection from rodent and deer damage.
He hand-planted all of his trees, and he estimated that he could plant 10 trees per hour (including digging the hole, planting the seedling, and fitting the tree shelter on each one). In addition to seedlings on his property, Magee has a nursery where he grows 1000 seedlings that will eventually be ready for the outside. But it doesn’t end there; he also grows seedlings in paper orange juice and milk cartons outside his house, and since the paper is biodegradable, he can just put the whole container into the ground once the roots are developed.
Sounds like a lot of hard work, doesn’t it? But don’t let that deter you from conservation planting!
Joe said the most rewarding aspect of his long-term tree planting has been “the visual change from year to year.” The wildlife he sees from his house- bobolinks, orioles, owls, goldfinches, turkey, to name a few, reaffirms that his efforts are not only for his benefit, but for enhancing habitat. Planting a living thing into the ground and seeing it survive and grow is instant gratification.
Joe offered up some helpful tips from his work. First, if you want to try growing native trees on your property, take advantage of the expertise of your local Soil & Water District; the technicians will walk the land with you and look at soils and give recommendations. Secondly, there are a few good “starter” trees for beginners: white spruce and Norway spruce. These species grow fast and are relatively easy to maintain. Also red oak and red maple grow fairly fast. Even if you can only grow one tree or a small shrub, you will be doing your part to help enhance the native plant community right in your own backyard.