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  • Writer's pictureJay Mirro

March Tree Planting

March is an interesting time of year. Sometimes it is cold and feels like winter. Sometimes it warm and feels like spring. Days are getting longer. In Washington State, we are gaining 3.5 minutes of daylight per day. It is still wet.

A quick internet search come up with these 10 things to look forward to in March:

· Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. (Of Course!)

· Pi Day.

· The Ides of March.

· St. Patrick’s Day.

· Daylight Savings Time.

· Spring Equinox.

· Aquamarine (birthstone).

· Daffodils and the start of the garden season.

· Spring Break

· Kite Flying Weather.

These are all interesting things and important things. However, all the lists have left out one important thing: Native bare root tree and shrub planting!

Most Conservation Districts in Washington State sell bare root trees and shrubs in the winter. Bare root plants are sold with no pot and no soil. The prices are pretty low, running $2 - $3 per plant. It is the most affordable way to buy native plants. The KCD sold over 60,000 plants this year to just over 1000 customers.

Bare roots plants are harvested out of the ground while they are dormant. This is wintertime and then stored and packaged for distribution. There is a large machine that drives through the field, harvesting the plants with a 10’ wide lifting machine. Plants are lifted out of the ground, with roots intact and drop on the field behind. Workers follow in another vehicle, gather the plants and take them back to the warehouse. Farming native plants, cool. Plants are young and small when they are harvested so they are completely un-harmed in the process.

At Soggy Bottom, we have planted a lot of trees and shrubs. Most have come through the bare root plant program. If I’d have to guess, I suspect we have planted over 1,000 trees & shrubs over the years. About 20% on the farm side and the remaining on the forest side. There is something satisfying about watching a tree grow year to year.

An old Greek proverb says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.”

Another good one is a Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

This year we planted 35 trees, and 10 ground cover bare root plants: 5 Paper Birch, 10 Western Red Cedar, 10 Grand Fir, 10 Sitka Spruce, 5 Early Violets and 5 Oregon Iris. This is fewer than most years, but honestly, I am starting to run out of space.

Come visit and I’ll introduce you to these and any of the other plants we have planted.


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