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Polk City, Iowa

5 Ways to Help Make Polk City a Little Greener!

by jgschreier 2/24/2016

No Cost and Reduced Cost Landscape Trees and Seedlings available through 5 programs!

Two programs for planting trees on public grounds are through the Trees For Kids program.  Trees For Kids is a grant for up to $5,000.00 that can be used to plant trees on public property and school grounds.  If you are interested in applying for your community or school, please email or call Laura Wagner at 515-725-8456.  The Grant documents can be downloaded at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/Forestry/UrbanForestry.aspx  The deadline for the spring application is March 1, so contact Laura if you are interested in applying for your school or community. 

Trees for Kids also offers a no-cost create-a-packet of 200 bare-root tree or shrub seedlings through the State Forest Nursery for every municipality and school building in Iowa.  There are very few requirements for this packet, just complete this form and submit it to Laura Wagner, the Forestry Programs Coordinator.  You may plant these on school grounds, parks or city property, give them out to residents to plant in their yards, start your own nursery, whatever you choose. The deadline for submitting your free seedling request is April 1st, but species are beginning to sell out, so I would order right away if you are interested.

The three programs that are available to private homeowners and landowners are Operation ReLeaf, Plant Some Shade, and the Monthly Specialty Packet program through the state Forest Nursery.   

The Iowa DNR Forestry partners with MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy to bring low-cost landscape trees to utility customers through our Residential Tree Distributions.  Homeowners must be MidAmerican customers to participate in Plant Some Shade, or Alliant Energy Customers to participate in Operation ReLeaf.

Both programs are designed to help utility customers save energy in their homes using trees to provide shade during the summer and windbreaks during the winter.  These programs are  brought to you in partnership with MidAmerican Energy, Alliant Energy, and local partners.  This is a great opportunity for area residents to purchase trees that retail between $65.00 and $125.00 for only $25.00 - $30.00, depending upon the program.

MidAmerican Energy Plant Some Shade Distribution Sites for Spring 2016.  To download an order form, click here: https://www.midamericanenergy.com/ia-res-trees.aspx

Linn County, Cedar Rapids
Pottawattamie County, Council Bluffs
Scott County, Davenport
Polk County, Des Moines
Webster County, Fort Dodge
Warren County, Indianola
Johnston County, Iowa City
Black Hawk County, Waterloo

Alliant Energy Operation ReLeaf Distribution Sites for Spring 2016.  To download an order form, click here: http://www.alliantenergy.com/releaf

Clayton County, Elkader
Hancock County, Garner
Hardin County, Iowa Falls
Keokuk County, Sigourney
Linn County, Marion
Marion County, Otley
Union County, Afton
Wapello County, Ottumwa

Residential Tree distributions are programs to help MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy customers save energy in their homes using trees to provide shade during the summer and  windbreaks during the winter.  For maximum energy efficiency, large-growing shade trees should be planted within 30 feet of the west and east of your home.  Low growing trees should be planted within 20 feet of your home, and can be used to shade air-conditioners.  Evergreens should be planted as a windbreak on the north and west side of your home.  Before ordering, we highly recommend you use the iTree design tools, which uses google earth to show you where the best placement for your tree is to reduce energy usage.

Due to the spread of Emerald Ash Borer in Iowa, we recommend planting a replacement tree within 30 feet of any existing ash trees which you do not intend to treat.  Be sure to plant a diverse mix of trees on your property and in your neighborhood to reduce the possibility of losing a large number of trees due to forest health threats. 

This program is intended to reduce energy usage through proper placement around buildings, but community trees have been shown to provide many more benefits to the community than energy savings alone.  Just a few of the well-researched benefits are below:

•    Studies have found that a 12% increase in tree canopy resulted in a 10% decrease in reported crime.
•    Urban forest can reduce annual stormwater runoff by 2–7 percent, and a mature tree can store 50 to 100 gallons of water during large storms.
•    Trees filter airborne pollutants and reduce the conditions that cause asthma and other respiratory problems.
•    Children with ADD function better after activities in green settings, and the “greener” a child’s play area, the less severe his or her attention deficit symptoms.
•    Children in neighborhoods with more green space have lower odds of increased change in body mass index.
•    Studies have found general increases of up to 37% in residential property values associated with the presence of trees and vegetation on a property.

If you have a larger yard or acreage, I also want to make you aware of the ongoing State Forest Nursery specialty packets.  Each month, the State Forest Nursery offers a different specialty packet.  Earlier this year we offered the fall color packet, the Upland Gamebird the Fastest Forest Specialty Packet, and High Value Hardwood.  For February, the specialty packet is Wild Edibles, and is only available until February 29, 2016.    These packets aren’t for everyone, because they are typically 250 seedlings for the price of 200, so you need at least ¼ acre to plant.  We recommend planting seedlings on a spacing of 6’ – 10’ within the row, and 8’ – 10’ between rows.  If you are interested in receiving monthly packet information, you can send a blank email to Join-cfc@lists.ia.gov.
Information about the Wild Edibles Packet is below:

This Wild Edibles packet is available to order in February only.  Cost for the 250 bare-root seedlings is $110, plus tax, shipping and handling, the same price as a regular 200-seedling packet. The Wild Edibles packet includes 50 each of the following:

Wild Plum
Aronia Berry
Shagbark Hickory

The seedlings are between 8 and 24 inches, depending on the tree or shrub species.  Sorry, no substitution of species or quantities is allowed with Monthly Specialty packets.  If you prefer other species, you may order a create-a-packet where you can choose up to 4 of your own species for a total of 200 trees/shrubs for $110.00

To take advantage of the Wild Edible Specialty Packet, call the State Forest Nursery at 1-800-865-2477 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. by February 29, 2016 and mention the “Wild Edibles packet.”  Landowners purchasing this packet will receive delivery the week of their choice in April or May.

For more information about this monthly special or other tree and shrub seedlings, contact the Iowa DNR State Forest Nursery at 1-800-865-2477.

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112 3rd Street
PO Box 426
Polk City, IA 50226


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Fax: 515-984-6177

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112 3rd Street
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Phone: (515) 984-6233

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