Benefits of Fall Planting

Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs as long as they are planted in the correct soil, heavy clay should be avoided. Fall brings lower temperatures and increased moisture in the soil, reducing the need for supplemental watering. Late September to November is the optimal time to plant. Fall plantings allow trees and shrubs to acclimate to the site and establish their roots before facing the summer heat in their new location. Soil temperatures are warmer in fall than spring, helping aid in root establishment before going dormant in winter. Weed control is still important, weed mats or mulch should be considered. The number one cause of seedling mortality is grass and weed competition.

Keep Tree Diversity in Mind

Tree diversity is an important consideration in protecting forests. Forest stands that have less diversity are more susceptible to disease and pests. One of the most recent examples of the need for diversity is the death of the ash tree. The Emerald Ash Borer was first detected in Michigan in 2002. In Michigan, millions of ash trees have been killed and some projections predict the death of billions of ash trees in North America. Still visible in forests and yards today, the ash tree is a stark reminder of the challenges forests face.

There are many other reasons to also promote tree diversity. Everyone can appreciate spring blossoms and the fall foliage that central Michigan has to offer. Expanding spring bloom periods and increasing fall colors can be a function of simply increasing the tree/shrub diversity on your property.

Tree diversity also benefits the ecosystem. From bacteria and mycorrhizae in the soil to bird and insect species, tree diversity benefits the most forms of life by providing a mix of diverse food and cover throughout the year.

Native Plant Sale

Homeowners can benefit birds and other wildlife by simply selecting native plants when designing their landscape. Local wildlife and pollinators have evolved with these plants and are dependent on them for their survival. The benefits of incorporating native plants include: lower maintenance (reduced fertilizer and pesticides), water conservation, habitat for pollinators and native wildlife, and natural beauty.

Native plants are also well adapted to their native range and will not exhibit invasive characteristics. A unique aspect of this sale is that all plants are native to Michigan and grown from seed harvested here.

There will be 30-40 native plant species available at the sale.

Mark Your Calendars

Please mark your calendars, tree and shrub ordering deadline is Monday, September 20, at 2 p.m. Pickup date is Friday, October 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Paris Park Fish Hatchery. Native plants will also be available on a first come, first served basis. If you have any questions, contact the Osceola-Lake Conservation District at (231)-465-8012 or email mark.sweppenheiser@macd.org. Residents of Mecosta County should contact Mecosta Conservation District at 231-796-0909 or email brook.baumann@macd.org. Ordering information can be found at osceolalakecd.org or mecostacd.org.

Mark Sweppenheiser is the District Manager for Osceola-Lake Conservation District. For more information, contact him at 231.465.8012, mark.sweppenheiser@macd.org, or stop by the Osceola-Lake Conservation District Office at 138 W. Upton, Suite 2, Reed City.