SWCD offers trees for sale

With its bright red berries, the highbush cranberry attracts a variety of songbirds.

With its bright red berries, the highbush cranberry attracts a variety of songbirds.

By LYNN M. GALLICE 
Mille Lacs SWCD

The Mille Lacs Soil and Water Conservation District is selling bare root trees and shrubs to help Mille Lacs landowners meet their conservation goals. The trees are being sold bare root in bundles of 25 to keep them economical and easy to plant. Twenty-three native species are being offered and SWCD staff are available to help landowners choose the right trees and shrubs for their project.

To create habitat for ground birds like pheasants, grouse and turkeys, consider planting black chokeberry, a low shrub that holds fruit into the winter. Highbush cranberry and redosier dogwood also provide food in fall and winter while the low, spreading branches of white spruce provide shelter for these birds.

Songbirds will be more comfortable visiting your bird feeders if there are sheltering shrubs nearby. Bluebirds like the fruit of the pin cherry and bur oak and maples attract larval insects that these birds also enjoy. Highbush cranberry, black chokeberry, redosier dogwood and hackberry all provide late summer into early winter food for song birds. Conifers provide shelter but some like tamarack and white pine also produce seeds that birds eat. Chokecherry and American plum are attractive to a variety of birds.

Black chokeberry, chokecherry, highbush cranberry and American plum all produce fruit that make great jams and jellies. Butternut and hazelnut produce tasty nuts and sugar maples can be tapped to make sugar and syrup.

To attract pollinators, your best bet is to plant a variety of trees and shrubs that bloom at different times. Plant butternut, maples, bur oak, chokecherry, pin cherry, black chokeberry and American plum for early spring blossoms and basswood, false indigo, redosier dogwood and highbush cranberry for mid to late spring blooms.

False indigo and redosier dogwood are tough shrubs with extensive root systems that make them excellent for controlling erosion on shorelines. Hazelnut, Jack pine and red pine will do well in sandy soils and tamarack and white cedar will grow in wet peat. Windbreaks can be designed for any soil type. There is a tree or shrub for every growing situation and the Mille Lacs SWCD can provide economical, bare root stock and technical assistance to help landowners meet their goals .The SWCD also offers a mechanical tree planter that can be rented to help plant large numbers of trees. Contact the Mille Lacs SWCD at 320-983-2160 for assistance and tree order forms.

When planting trees, be sure to check for overhead power lines, right of ways, easements for natural gas pipeline, electric and communication utilities. Tree planting may be prohibited in these areas. Please contact utility operators for specific instructions. Locate all utilities before you dig. Contact Gopher State One Call at 800-252-1166 or www.gopherstateonecall.org for your locate needs.

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