Conservation Corner

Submitted by Jeremiah Ulmer, Soil Conservation District Technician


The James River SCD is currently planning for the 2022 tree planting season! Shelterbelts, farmstead, and wildlife are the most common type of conservation plantings. Now is a great time to check your trees, count replacements needed, and call the office with your order for next spring. This ensures the availability of tree species. It is not uncommon for some species to be “Sold Out” by the time spring rolls around.


2022 Tree Cost-Share Programs Available


1.) Forest Service Windbreak Renovation— North Dakota Forest Service Windbreak Renovation Initiative (WRI) offers technical and financial assistance to private windbreak owners statewide to restore, protect and enhance their deteriorating windbreaks. Many of North Dakota’s important forest resources need maintenance, but not all of them are eligible for WRI. For WRI, a windbreak is defined as a system of multiple rows of trees and shrubs primarily designed and engineered to modify the flow of wind.


The WRI Program will assist landowners with old and dying windbreaks, to take out or clean up and replant new rows to protect what the previous windbreak was protecting. Cost share for this option is 50/50% up to $10,000. Please go to the Forest Service website and fill out the questionnaire under the Windbreak Renovation Program Link.


2.) Outdoor Heritage Fund—These tree plantings are meant to encourage conservation of erosion, water, farmstead and wildlife diversity. The landowner is eligible to receive 75% of the total project cost, leaving the landowner 25% of the cost to pay. The deadline for this program is August 23rd.


North Dakota's Outdoor Heritage Fund was established in 2013 as a multi-million-dollar program to provide grants to state agencies, tribal governments, political subdivisions, and nonprofit organizations, with higher priority given to projects that enhance conservation practices in this state. The North Dakota Conservation Districts have applied for funding through the Outdoor Heritage Fund again this year. The Outdoor Heritage Fund Tree Planting Initiative is a 75/25% cost shared program, the maximum dollar amount is $25,000 for the total planting.


The James River SCD requires all sod to be worked in the fall, prior to freeze up, and again in the spring before tree planting. Why is proper ground preparation so important? If trees are planted into poorly worked sod, it increases the chance of air pockets around the roots which can kill the tree. It also helps ensure that the weed barrier is laid properly.


One of the most popular questions we get is, should we fertilize our ground where the trees will be planted? Fertilizing windbreaks is NOT recommended. The fertilizer will not help the young trees and could also harm the trees. It has the possibility of “burning up” the roots and result in the death of your trees.

The District also offers hand plant trees for those of you who would like to plant the trees yourself or if your planting does not meet a resource concern requirement. These orders are usually due by November 1st to get the specific species you are looking for. Any orders in after November 1st may not get the first choice of the trees due to species running out. You can obtain the Handplant Order Form by stopping at the office or visiting our website.

Please call now and schedule a time to meet and plan for your future tree needs!

Dates to remember:

August 11 - SCD Board Meeting – 8:00 AM – Fireside – Woodland Room

August 23 – Outdoor Heritage Fund tree planting application deadline

September 6 – office closed for Labor Day

September 15-16 – EcoEd days for local 6/7 grade

September 24 – NRCS EQIP batching deadline

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