District conservation team can help with fall plantings

SEEDLING ORDERS: The Osceola-Lake and Mecosta Conservation Districts are now taking orders for fall seedlings. Ordering deadline is Sept. 23. Quantities are limited and orders will be filled on a first-come first-served basis. (Courtesy photo)

SEEDLING ORDERS: The Osceola-Lake and Mecosta Conservation Districts are now taking orders for fall seedlings. Ordering deadline is Sept. 23. Quantities are limited and orders will be filled on a first-come first-served basis. (Courtesy photo)

MECOSTA COUNTY – It’s planting time!

Really?

Leaves are starting to turn color. Geese and gathering and heading… somewhere. All the signs of a coming change of seasons are out there.

So, now is the time to plant?

“Fall can be a great time to plant young trees and shrubs,” said Rick Lucas, district forester with the Osceola-Lake and Mecosta Conservation District.

“While the air temperature is getting cooler and may slow down plant growth above ground, ground temperatures still are warm enough to encourage root growth.

“Now is a good time to plant.”

The Osceola-Lake and Mecosta Conservation Districts are now taking orders for fall seedlings.

Ordering deadline is Sept. 23. Quantities are limited and orders will be filled on a first-come first-served basis.

Seedling pickup is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 30, at the Paris Park Fish Hatchery.

As area residents consider placing orders with the Osceola-Lake and Mecosta Conservation District for fall planting shrubs and trees, there can be a little more involved than ordering, picking up and planting — an opportunity for a friendly word or two of advice on how to choose well and plant successfully.

“We will be distributing a variety of hardwood and conifer species as well as a variety of wildlife shrubs,” said Lucas.

“In general, people ask us a lot of questions about planting before they order the trees or shrubs. Still, there are folks who simply like the idea of planting trees without really understanding how and why to plant correctly.

“We try to help out wherever we can.”

Lucas said it was typical for a well-meaning resident to place an order, come to collect the seedlings, and ask “OK. What do I do now?”

“We try to help out and make sure the seedlings which have been ordered are a good fit for the property to be planted,” he said.

The conservation district has soil information for all three service counties. They can look up a specific property and help determine what will be the best option for planting, he said.

“Not just at seedling sale time, we are available to help are residents make good decisions about what and where to plant trees,” said Lucas.

“We take a lot of pride in providing as much technical information as we can to property owners so that now and in the future the plantings they do are healthy and well placed.

“Our big push now is in trying to make sure people are planting native species — both trees and shrubs — and in fact other plants.”

Lucas and the conservation district team can be very helpful in designing a planting strategy.

“With power lines about and utility lines below ground, folks need to be aware of not only how the planting is going to look today, but how those trees and shrubs will be impacting the surrounding area in the future.”

For a seedling list and order form readers can visit osceolalakecd.org or mecostacd.org. Lists are also available in district offices or those interested can call the Osceola-Lake Conservation District at (231) 832-2950 ext. 5 or Mecosta Conservation District at (231) 796-0909 ext. 3, to have it mailed.

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Posted by Jim Crees

Jim is the editor in chief of the Pioneer, Herald Review and Lake County Star. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8360 or by e-mail at jcrees@pioneergroup.com.

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