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The best time to plant a tree

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Intermountain Conservation District (IMCD) manager Jeff Thiele would like to see a few more trees growing in the area.
To that end, IMCD is offering seedlings at cost in an effort to encourage area residents to plant trees.
“We are trying to get some larger plantings going in the area because every year there seems to be more trees disappearing in the area,” Thiele said.
“Kind of like what happened a number of years ago when PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration) used to have a tree program. There was about 25,000 trees being planted in the area and then it kind of went to nothing. We are trying to get something like that going again.”
While the PFRA shelterbelt program offered trees at no charge IMCD is operating on a cost recovery basis at $2 per tree,
“We are doing it at cost. We are ordering in bulk and trying to get a better deal. We can get a better price if we order about 1,000 at once instead of people ordering individually,” Thiele said, adding this is the third year for the program and word is starting to spread.
“I guess probably we are getting in the neighbourhood of 1,000 or 1,500 (annually), but we would like to get back to that 25,000 range that PFRA used to have.”
Thiele added there is a wide range of trees to choose from including two types of spruce, scots pine, fast growing hybrid poplar and willow, several fruit tree options and larger trees such as Manitoba Maple and Ohio Buckeye.
“Kind of the whole range, similar to what PFRA offered back in the day,” he said.
Anyone of the varieties can offer a wide range of benefits from carbon sequestration to wildlife biodiversity to habitat for bees and erosion control.
“There is a whole number of benefits,” Thiele said.
The program is based on minimum orders of 25 trees and Thiele said anyone needing fewer seedlings should get together with friends to make the minimum.
“Certainly it is available to all landowners within our area. We have seven municipalities that we work with, including the City of Dauphin. Anyone is eligible,” he said, adding other municipalities include Gilbert Plains Municipality, Grandview Municipality, Mossey River Municipality, the Municipality of Ethelbert, the RM of Dauphin and the RM of Mountain South.
Orders must be in by Feb. 15 at the latest, although Thiele encourages anyone interested in obtaining trees to act quickly to avoid disappointment.
“Because some of the nurseries I have been checking with, some of the species are starting to get spoken for already. So the sooner the better that people get ahold of us,” he said.
Applications are available at the IMCD office in Ethelbert or online at intermountaincd.com under the programs tab.