More than 70,000 pine and spruce pine seedlings will be planted in 2011 in Crow Wing County.
Land Services Supervisor Kirk Titus announced that tree planting is underway this week on several sites located throughout the county. The planting sites are located on about 110 acres in Crow Wing, Mission, Fairfield, Pelican and Little Pine townships and the cities of Baxter and Crosslake.
“We rely heavily on the natural regeneration for many of our hardwood species like aspen, birch and oak, but we do plant the conifers to maintain and increase species diversity on the county managed lands,” said Bryan Pike, county natural resource manager in a news release.
The jack pine seedlings planted this spring came from seed gathered at the county’s second generation jack pine seed orchard. The seed orchard is a joint venture with the Minnesota Tree Improvement Cooperative.
Crow Wing County has been a member of the cooperative since the early 1980s. The purpose of the cooperative is to increase the quality of jack pine by making improvements to growth, form, branching and disease resistance. As a result of the work between the county and the Minnesota Tree Improvement Cooperative, the county reports it has the best possible jack pine seed source available for future forest regeneration projects.
“Growing these trees is a long term commitment,” Pike said. “These sites will be closely monitored for growth and survival over the next five years. We will follow up with protection measures to minimize the effects of deer browse on these trees.”
Pike said he expects the first red pine thinning to happen in 25 to 30 years.
More than 3.6 million seedlings were planted on county tax-forfeited timber lands in the last 30 years. Funding for this spring’s tree planting comes from a state of Minnesota Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council grant and from the sale of timber stumpage and platted tax-forfeited parcels, the county reported.
The county manages 103,000 acres of forest land for timber production and diverse recreational opportunities for multiple users.
“Trees are a renewable resource and the spring’s tree planting is the start of a new generation of trees for our county,” Titus said in a written statement. “Over the next rotation of 50-100 years, these trees will provide habitat for wildlife, recreation opportunities for county residents and forest products for local loggers, paper mills and sawmills.”