Loup Lines shares scope of tree seedling program

Many Nebraskans have been there, it’s considered a hallowed hall for Husker Football faithful. Now picture the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium with nearly every seat holding a conservation tree seedling. Your mental picture provides a quick glimpse of the scope of the Lower Loup Natural Resources District’s conservation tree program.There were 85,971 conservation trees planted across the Lower Loup Natural Resources District this year. The number of trees sold in the NRD more than doubled from previous years thanks to a bounce back in landowner interest after the drought of 2012. The Lower Loup NRD's tree planting program is one of the largest in the state and covers the entire District. The NRD is made up of all or parts of 16 Nebraska counties. Landowners and NRD crews could choose to plant any of more than 40 species of trees and shrubs in 2014.One of the most popular species again this season was red cedar. This perennial favorite performs well in a variety of situations and soil types. There were 43,450 red cedars planted across the Lower Loup NRD throughout the spring and early summer. Other popular varieties of trees and shrubs included plum, chokecherry, Ponderosa pine, and Colorado blue spruce.The trees and shrubs planted across the District in 2014 are serving a variety of purposes. The majority are planted to provide windbreaks, either field windbreaks, livestock windbreaks or farmstead windbreaks. Still others will serve as wildlife habitat. Trees in the District are planted in two ways. The landowner can either plant his trees by hand or NRD employees will plant the trees by machine. The total number of trees hand-planted in the District this year was 62,748 and the machine plant total was 23,223.Many of the trees planted across the Lower Loup NRD got their start in Nebraska. The U.S. Forest Service grows the majority of the seedlings planted in the state at the Nebraska National Forest at Halsey. The seedlings, when they are two years old, are distributed to NRDs statewide through the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts. Additional trees were ordered through nurseries in Colorado and North Dakota. Most often, these trees were of a variety not available from Nebraska nurseries.Now is a great time to plan for next year’s conservation trees! For more information on how to put the various conservation tree programs to work on your land, contact your nearest Natural Resources Conservation Service office. For more information on trees and tree planting, contact Richard Woollen, District Forester, at the Lower Loup Natural Resources District, 2620 Airport Drive, just off North Highway 11, in Ord or call 308-728-3221. You may also visit www.llnrd.org, the NRD web site.