PREBLE COUNTY — The Preble SWCD annual Plant Sale is under way, and for this year’s installment of the “why you should consider our tree sale” article, we start with a math problem for you to consider. Take a walk in just about any woods around here and try to see how many different species of native trees and shrubs you can count. Now, compare that figure to the number of species present in your yard. How does your yard stack up?
Granted, a small yard could not possibly contain as many species as a woodlot, but if your yard is like many in this area, it’s likely there is much less diversity in your yard than in the natural environment.
Inquiring minds want to know, why do our yards lean more towards a monoculture, (a planting of one species,) rather than a diverse mix like we find in nature? One reason for this might be the stately look of one tree species all in a row along your driveway or property line. Or, think how nice it looks to have several rows of blue spruce or Norway spruce trees in that windbreak. Planting one species serves to keep things regular and uniform in these cases. The downside of planting a monoculture becomes evident when new diseases or invasive insects come on the scene which affect all trees in a particular species or family. Just think of the Chestnut Blight, to name one example. This disease virtually wiped out an entire species of trees. Several diseases of evergreens have the potential to suffer the same fate. The Emerald Ash Borer is currently munching its way through our forests with devastating effects.
So what is the answer to this mess of tree diseases? What we recommend is planting several different species. Typically our trees are sold in bundles of five, but for those of you who would like to plant a mixture of species, and don’t want five of each of them, we are offering an assorted small species packet and a mixed large tree packet. Consider the mature size and ideal growing conditions when choosing the right species for your site. And remember this old proverb: The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now.
Preble SWCD is accepting orders for our plant sale now through March 24. New to the sale this year are five flowering perennials, beneficial for birds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinator species. Surecrop strawberry plants are also available. The order form is available at www.prebleswcd.org, or you can pick one up at the office at 1651 N. Barron St. in Eaton. If you have any questions or need more information, please call the office at 937-456-5159.