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By Aimee Delaney, Green Acreages CoordinatorOn Sept. 18, a second Eco-buffer & Shelterbelt Workshop was held at the Red Deer County office for landowners interested in planting trees on their property. Following suit of the first workshop (targeted at distinguishing the difference between Eco-buffers and shelterbelts and how to determine which would be best for participants’ properties), this second workshop was focused on helping landowners put a plan together for their own plantings sites.Luke Wonneck, Agroforestry Technician for the Agroforestry Woodlot Extension Society, mentioned at the first Eco-buffer & Shelterbelt workshop that for successful establishment and long lasting plantings, site prep is one of the most important elements with plantings.If considering a tree planting of any sort, a daunting task for some, here are a few things to get you off on the right foot:What are your project goals?• Wildlife/pollinator habitat, erosion control, wind protection, increasing biodiversity, aesthetics, etc.What are the site characteristics of your proposed planting site(s)?• What is the current land use, vegetation, soil and moisture conditions, sunlight exposure?
• What are some limiting factors the site holds? (ex. Grass/weed competition, soil compaction, excess or lack of moisture, wildlife browse pressure, etc.)What will your planting design entail?• What species do you plan to plant?• Is there a pattern you will plant in? (ex. Rows, scattered, grid, etc.)• What spacing will you need between plants? (Both within and between the rows)What site preparation will be needed?• Tilling, herbicide or mechanical weed control, past plant debris removal? What does the planting plan look like?• What trees/shrubs will you include? (Try native species already accustomed to the growing conditions in your area.)• What kind of stock will you use? (ex. Cuttings, seedlings, potted, etc.)• Is there any labour or equipment that will be needed?Once the trees are planted, what is the on-going maintenance plan?• How often will weed control and watering occur?• Will fencing be needed to keep browsers away?With fall here and the winter approaching, now might not be the best time for planting. But it is the perfect time to get a plan together and start on some site prep so when the snow melts, you’re already off running.For more information on Eco-buffers & shelterbelts or creating your own planting plans, contact Aimee at Red Deer County for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403.350.2150. Additionally: Re-establishing or enhancing native plants and areas on your farm, ranch or acreage could be an eligible ALUS or Green Acreages project. Contact Ken (for ALUS) or Aimee (Green Acreages) at 403.350.2150 or email@example.com.