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Keep the benefits of trees in rural landscapes

Ag News Wire
By Gary Wyatt, University of Minnesota Extension

ST. PAUL, Minn. (4/26/2010) --If you traveled through rural Minnesota last winter, you probably realized some of the benefits of windbreaks and living snow fences.

In addition to protecting roadways and farms from drifting snow in winter, farmers and other rural residents know the value of properly placed trees and shrubs to save energy (heating and cooling), protect from the wind, protect soil and water, increase wildlife habitat, and beautify the land. 

Arbor Day is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April, and May is Arbor Month. This is the time of year soil and water conservation districts are working with rural residents in planting trees and shrubs to enhance their way of life. University of Minnesota Extension can help you decide what kind of trees to plant. Extension's forestry website at is a helpful place to identify trees suitable for your location.

Minnesota residents must consider planting shade trees other than ash, since emerald ash borer (EAB) was found in the state last May. In most rural areas there is an abundance of green ash trees. EAB can attack and kill any species of ash trees in the state. Visit Extension's emerald ash borer website at to learn more about EAB and alternative shade trees.

Shade tree species to consider in rural areas include ginkgo, hackberry, American linden or basswood, sugar maple (Fall Fiesta), Freeman maple (Sienna Glen, Autumn Blaze), red maple (Northwood), and Discovery and Princeton, both disease-resistant elms.

Trees that produce nuts include Ohio buckeye (Autumn Splendor), shagbark hickory, bitternut hickory, bur oak, white oak, bicolor or swamp white oak, and black walnut (can inhibit some plants from growing near it).

Trees that produce pods are northern catalpa, Kentucky coffeetree, honeylocust (podless cultivars are Shademaster and Sunburst).

Remember landscape diversity this Arbor Day and Arbor Month by planting several different species of trees, shrubs and plants in your landscape. No one species should represent more than 15 percent of your landscape. Make it a family activity to plant trees or shrubs this year. You can pass on the benefits of trees when you explain them to your children or other children in your community.

Any use of this article must include the byline or following credit line:
Gary Wyatt is an agroforestry educator with University of Minnesota Extension.

Media Contact: Catherine Dehdashti, U of M Extension, (612) 625-0237,

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