Conservation authority accepting orders for spring trees

Ian Jean. File photo.

Ian Jean. File photo.

SOUTH HURON – Local landowners in the Ausable Bayfield watersheds are invited to order spring trees.

Property owners are now ordering trees for planting on marginal land and as windbreaks or watercourse buffers and to reforest sloping banks. Trees provide a variety of benefits including reducing heating and cooling costs, preventing soil erosion, improving the look of a property, and marking property boundaries. Ontario studies have shown increases in yields for field crops buffered by windbreaks. Trees along watercourses improve water quality and provide wildlife habitat and travel corridors.

Many local property owners are taking positive action by taking part, said Ian Jean, who is Ausable Bayfield Conservation’s forestry and land stewardship specialist.

“Local landowners are improving the health of the watershed by planting trees,” he said.  “We could not plant tens of thousands of trees every year without their cooperation and their interest in planting trees on their land.”

Landowners in those watersheds purchased and planted about 13,000 trees through last year’s spring tree orders. Their work helped Ausable Bayfield Conservation’s spring tree planting program plant a total of 61,000 trees.

Grants are available for some projects.

“Funding is available for many projects and depending on size and location, half or even all of the cash costs may be repaid through grants,” Jean said. The federal and provincial governments offer some cost-share programs and in some counties, such as Huron County, a Clean Water Project provides grants.

People are encouraged to call Jean at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 to find out more about grants, about spring tree planting orders, or for advice on planting the right kind of tree on the right site.

The conservation authority has announced that 2013 spring tree orders have started and people are already taking part. Residents can mail in tree orders by the end of January, or make over-the-counter orders by the end of February. (Payment of all orders is due by Feb. 28, 2013). The spring tree order form, and more information, is available online  or by phoning 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.

Tree planting for windbreaks can reduce wind-caused erosion. “Topsoil is a very valuable resource,” Jean said. “We had two big windstorms last spring that reminded us how quickly it can be lost.”

Ausable Bayfield residents can order several kinds of tree species through the spring tree program. Species include Norway spruce, white spruce, white cedar, white pine, tamarack, silver maple, red oak, bur oak, black walnut, black cherry, sycamore, tulip tree, red osier dogwood, staghorn sumac, nannyberry viburnum, Austrian pine, serviceberry, autumn blaze, sugar maple and highbush cranberry.

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