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February Newsletter


Green Ash (Fraxinus Pennsylvanica)

Highly used within our tree planting program, this hardy medium to tall native is moderately drought and alkali resistant making it highly adaptable. It is a great option for use in many windbreaks due to its height and versatility as well as the resistance to soil compaction. The bark is distinguishable by the ashy grey and brown colors with interlacing ridges that form small diamond shaped furrows. The fine-grained wood bands make it a strong wood and an excellent choice for furniture and athletic equipment. Samara type seeds are long thin and winged so as to be carried easily by the wind in the fall. However, it has become more susceptible to fungal infections and pests like leaf rust and ash borers with decay and damage not being noticed for several years after infestation making monitoring of infected areas a high priority.


A Valentine's Day potion perhaps?

What better way to celebrate your valentine next week than with a sweet treat from the forests? Try this Sumac Punch from the NDSU Windbreak Cookbook!

Sumac Punch

2 qt. water

1 c. ripe sumac berries

1 Tbsp. whole cloves

4 (1-inch) sticks of cinnamon, broken up

1½ to 2 c. sugar to taste

Bring water to a boil; add sumac berries, cloves and cinnamon. Return

to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain liquid through a strainer lined with damp muslin or cheesecloth. Add sugar to taste and chill.

If you like that you'll be happy to know there are other ways to use Sumac in cooking. It's bright and citrus like flavor make a great addition to many dishes! Check out this home processing process for more ideas!


Flora Facts

Wild Bergamot, (Monarda fistulosa) commonly known as Beebalm and horsemint, is a native perennial in the mint family that was used historically as a tea to treat sore throats, colds, and fevers. Its components are used as antiseptics in mouthwashes today. If you chew on the leaves, you'll be left with a very potent herbal flavor, similar to fresh oregano or thyme, making it resistant to deer and rabbit damage. It blooms from June to September with large purple tubular flowers arranged in globular heads atop a square stem, making it attractive to pollinators and hummingbirds.

Check out more about the history and medicinal benefits of this plant with this video!


This month's Conservation Book Nook feature from the Ellendale school library is all about Wetlands! Wetlands play an important part in our North Dakota ecosystems, supporting various types of wildlife habitat, helping regulate water quality, prevent flooding, and provide economic stability within the tourism industry.

In Who Eats What? Wetland Food Chains

By Rebecca Pettiford, readers will explore the wetland biome along with the diverse food chains it supports. Learn how energy flows through plants and animals in a wetland environment, discovering different types of wetlands around the world!

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