Eye on Extension: Planning a tree or shrub planting


MONTE VISTA — Officially spring starts this next Wednesday. With the changing weather this past week we have to wonder if it’s time for spring. Ok, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Even with spring officially here, it will be a little while before we can do a lot of outside work. We can however plan for the spring work.

Often in the spring we look to plant trees or shrubs to help get a plan put together on what we want to do. We can also plan the order we want to accomplish our tasks in. As we plan a planting program for trees or shrubs we need to do some homework before buying any plants. 

First we need to decide what is the goal of planting trees or shrubs. Are we looking for a windbreak, a few trees for aesthetics or shade, or do we have another reason?  Once we determine why we are planting then we can start to determine what trees and shrubs will fit our goals, environment and location. Grab a pencil and paper to write ideas down. As you add thoughts plans will change until the final plan comes to mind.

When evaluating the trees and shrub species we want to plant it is important to select those that are most likely to fit our environment. If you aren’t sure what will work, there are ways to find out. Contact the Colorado State Forest Service or the San Luis Valley Area Extension Office. 

The Colorado State Forest Service has a list of trees and shrubs that are well adapted to our environment. If you select plants from their list, it will improve your chances of having a successful planting for years to come. They can also provide guidance on how and when to plant the trees or shrubs to insure they have the best chance for survival. 

Look at the plants around your neighborhood. The mature trees and shrubs may be well adapted. Then talk to the folks selling trees. The ones they have should have been selected for local environments. 

The Colorado State Forest Service can also help with guidance on how and when to plant the trees or shrubs to insure they have the best chance for survival. Compare these to those recommended by the Colorado State Forest Service.   

If you are planning a windbreak the Colorado State Forest Service has a list of trees and shrubs especially suited for that program. These seedling trees and shrubs are evaluated to fit a conservation program. While the plants start small if they are managed properly, they can begin providing good shade or wind protection in a few years.  The advantage of these trees is they are much more cost effective that buying larger plants.  There are also supplies available to help with plant survival.  If you want help designing the windbreak they are the go to people. 

Some of the recommendations on how to plant a tree or shrub have changed over the last few years.  The techniques today promote a healthy plant and improve survivability and longevity of the trees.  There are a number of resources on planting trees.  You can check out the local book stores, the internet or you can contact the Colorado State Forest Service or the SLV Extension Office.  If you haven’t planted a tree or shrub for a few years, it is a good idea to do some research.

If you have existing trees that need to be trimmed and you want to know the best way to trim them, the Colorado State Forest Service is hosting a tree pruning class.  The class will be held Tuesday, April 2nd in San Luis. Call the Forest Service for information at 719-587-0915.

For more information, you can call the Colorado State University Extension, San Luis Valley Area Office at 719-852-7381 or the Colorado State Forest Service at 719-587-0915.

Extension programs are available to all without discrimination, Colorado State University Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado counties cooperating.

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