Spring tree planting is underway statewide. More than 8,000 acres of forest lands administered by the DNR will be planted or seeded this year, said Mike Carroll, DNR forester.
Minnesota has one of the nation's largest state forest systems and one of the largest state forest tree planting programs in the nation.
"In the past 10 years," Carroll said, "the DNR has planted or seeded close to 90,000 acres, an area one-quarter mile wide by 560 miles long and stretching from Minneapolis to Cincinnati."
Pines, particularly red pine, the state tree, are the major species planted. This includes the planting of 800,000 white pine on state land, which supports the initiative now being undertaken to increase white pine in Minnesota's forested landscapes. Many other native tree species will also be used. Oak and other hardwoods are widely planted in the state forests of southeastern Minnesota.
Trees are planted on state lands to reforest harvested areas, provide wildlife habitat, protect watershed values and maintain the quality of state forests. Professional foresters determine the tree species appropriate for the site. Private contractors hired by the DNR do the actual planting.
Foresters are seeding over 450 acres and planting over 440 acres in the Hibbing area during May, said Ben Anderson, DNR forester. Over 312,000 trees, predominantly pines and spruces, are being hand planted on sites prepared during the past year.
Tree planting is not a single-step process. Trees require a properly prepared site to be able to compete with other vegetation for moisture and sunlight. Established plantings often continue to need human help with eliminating competing vegetation to thrive and grow. The Hibbing area will be doing 300 acres of mechanical site preparation and release, as well as 98 acres of aerial and 40 acres of ground applied herbicide vegetation control to establish new forests.
To learn more about the program, contact Ben Anderson at (218) 262-6765.
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