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Places to plant trees



When it seems there’s no land left for trees, landowners are invited to consider four possible areas to plant

Landowners plant tens of thousands of trees locally through conservation authority programs; Funding is available to help cover costs

No room for trees? Think again. A local conservation authority is suggesting four areas where you might consider planting trees. 

When discussing tree planting with farmers, stewardship staff sometimes hear the response that “I don’t have any room left for trees on my farm.” Faced with this challenge, during the newly launched spring tree order program for 2018, staff of Ausable Bayfield Conservation are proposing four areas where trees can be planted on a farm with minimal if any loss of farmland:

1. Along rivers and municipal drains. Trees can be planted along both sides of natural watercourses where land isn’t great for crop production. With the transition from pastures to cash crops, these valleylands are better suited for trees than investing crop inputs for mediocre yields. Trees can be planted on one side of municipal drains with the other side left open for future maintenance. Trees can be selected with roots that won’t plug tiles. Trees along watercourses have a secondary benefit of wind erosion control. 

2. Farmsteads. Trees around feedlots provide shade in the summer and reduce wind chill in the winter. This makes the temperatures more comfortable for livestock and people. Cattle that spend less energy keeping warm have better weight gain. Trees around houses reduce energy costs and reduce grass-cutting costs.

3. Property lines. In the past, ‘good fences made good neighbours’ but more and more often windbreaks delineate property boundaries. The trees also reduce wind erosion across fields. Studies show an increase in crop yields greater than the loss of a few rows of crops. A row of trees planted across a slope reduces water erosion as well. 

4. Squaring up a field. With larger equipment, including sprayers, it’s more difficult to get into those irregular, small corners of fields. More people are squaring up fields by planting trees instead of clearing trees. 

Ausable Bayfield Conservation has launched its Spring Tree Order program for 2018. The local conservation authority has announced the spring tree order form is now online at The conservation authority receives mail-in orders until January 31, 2018. Orders are taken accompanied by payment until February 28, 2018.  Contact Ian Jean at Ausable Bayfield Conservation at to find out more or call toll-free 1-888-286-2610.

Landowners plant tens of thousands of trees through the spring and autumn tree order programs but the spring program is the largest of the two, said Ian Jean, Forestry and Land Stewardship Specialist with Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). “We have spring and fall tree order programs but spring is the bigger season by far,” according to Jean. Copies of the tree order form can be found and printed from or they are available at the office at 71108 Morrison Line, just east of Exeter and south of Highway 83. 

Trees do take up some space but the benefits for crops, livestock and people can outweigh the space lost, according to stewardship staff.

The outlook for funding to help with the costs of trees is also bright for this spring. Farmers can receive grants from a number of sources, to cover the costs of tree stock and planting. 

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