Spring Grove supports trees for Arbor Day
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 9:28 AM
There's an English proverb that goes something like this: "He that plants trees loves others besides himself." Certainly the cool shade of an oak can bless a passerby on a hot summer's day, and the fiery fall color of a maple can lift the spirit.
"He that plants trees loves others besides himself."
Real estate professionals also have the value that a tree adds to a city lot down to a fairly exact science, others have noted.
The city of Spring Grove has traditionally valued trees within its borders. Recently, the city council voted to resume a program that will make seven varieties of trees available to those who would like to add them to their lots at wholesale prices.
For Spring Grove property owners, it could be a deal too good to ignore.
From Sienna Glen Maple to American Linden, Bicolor oak to Prairie fire crab, the varietals will be provided by Alpine Nursery - a local grower located near the city of Houston.
Councilman Robert Vogel serves as liaison to the Spring Grove Parks Commission. He spoke about the program last week.
"It's been a parks' commission event," Vogel said. "Normally we have these tree sales every other year, but we apparently haven't done one of these since 2009. We couldn't do this without the cooperation from Alpine Nursery. They've always been an enthusiastic supporter of these kinds of programs.... We wanted all of the trees this year to be in the same price range, and they're all priced the same ($25 each) this time around. They're also easy to plant, easy to grow, and roughly the same size.
"They're really for residential use. Some of them, like the oaks, are very long lived and get quite large, while others like the crab provide a much smaller tree to fit the lot. There's something for everybody here."
Alpine nursery stock has a good reputation, Vogel added. "One of the things we have over the years as far as feedback is that the trees you buy from Alpine tend to survive well.... They are very healthy.
"The Arbor Day tree sale varieties are your traditional backyard type of tree.... These are things you put in your front yard for decoration or your back yard to help define a property line.
"The last time we did this we had a variety of shrubs, basically. These are all trees. Some are shorter, some are taller. At city hall, which is where people will bring their order forms, my wife (Kathleen) has compiled something on each of these species, along with a photograph of what they look like when they mature."
Kathleen Vogel is one of about 10 Houston County residents who have completed the University of Minnesota's Master Gardener Program.
Orders will be processed through March 14.
"We've sold more than 50 trees at each of these event since 2005," Vogel said. "We expect quite a few people to participate in it. Unlike some of the other tree rebate programs out there, there are no strings attached. Some other offers may require you to plant trees around your house to cut down on air conditioning costs, things like that. With ours, you can put them on commercial properties, residential properties. You can use them to shade your house or shade your gazebo, whatever....
"When they arrive in May, the trees will be available to pick up at the public works garage over by the Fest Building. In the past, we've always sorted them out for customers and watered them. Pickup is usually on a Saturday.
"We always try to have some knowledgeable people on hand to answer questions when people pick up their trees. Just to provide some tips to buyers. Things like spacing or watering requirements."
Property owners will be responsible for pick-up and planting. Vogel said Gopher State One-Call should always be contacted before digging. "You don't want to hit a power line," he noted.
Other considerations are staying on the right side of the city's tree ordinance, which doesn't allow planting where traffic visibility would be blocked for drivers, planting directly on a property line, or planting too close to a neighbor's building. Also, it's not advisable to plant woody vegetation where roots will block sewer lines.
"It's mostly about common sense," Vogel said. "The mistakes you could make while doing this aren't that terrible. For a few years, trees can be moved around a little bit, if necessary. We try to keep it as simple as possible.
"Trees add a lot of value to the community - dollars and cents value - besides the aesthetics.