Conservation Corner

Submitted by Tokina McHarry, JRSCD Education and Outreach Manager


May starts our office’s “busy” season, as that is when our field works starts. Because of the unusual spring weather throughout the state, our nursery trees are arriving later than normal. If you ordered handplants, our office will call and coordinate pick-up when the trees are here in county.

With that being said, if you have a scheduled tree planting for this season, please make the ground preparation a priority! This will help our staff to be able to get the trees in the ground as soon as possible. The land should be worked black with no clumps or weeds unless other arrangements are made. This will make the machine planting of trees go as smoothly as possible. It also allows fabric to be installed successfully.


As a reminder, fabric installation DOES NOT occur the same day as the tree planting is done. The turn around 2-3 weeks in some cases so please be patient. Our first priority is getting all the trees in the ground. Before fabric is installed, the area must be kept clean between rows and trees to ensure proper installation of weed barrier.


Have you planted trees and had weed barrier fabric installed in the past? Fabric is a low-maintenance tool in tree plantings, but it is NOT a no-maintenance tool. Fabric will control the weeds in a planting very well, though some weeds may grow right by the tree and need to be carefully pulled. Keep fabric from rubbing on the tree trunk. The fabric is supposed to break down after 5-7 years, but in our climate, plantings still have fabric after 30 years. Trees can be girdled by the fabric after a few years of growth. The fabric should be checked every year to see if the tree is growing into the fabric. If so, the fabric needs to be cut on each side of trunk. If trees are left to grow into the fabric, the tree could be killed or growth stunted. It can also make the tree unstable at the base and cause the tree to fall over.


Your local soil conservation district here in Dickey County does more than just plant trees. We have 3 no-till drills available for rent, along with a gopher getter and tree augers. We can also design and/or order custom seed mixes for grass plantings. We also sell tree protection tubes, weed barrier fabric in small lengths or 500 foot rolls, and staples. Please call the office to inquire about any of our products or services.


Dates to Remember –

May 11 – SCD Board Meeting, 8 am, Fireside Woodland Room

May 13 – CRP Grassland sign-up deadline

May 30 – Office closed, Memorial Day

For more information contact the James River Soil Conservation District and Ellendale NRCS office at 349-3653 ext. 3, or stop by our field office located in Ellendale at 51 N 1st Street.  Also, remember to visit our websites for more information – and The USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.