Learn about trees at workshop Oct. 28

On its 10th anniversary, Trees for Mapleton is holding its fifth annual hands-on tree care workshop.

Organizers of the event, which is set for Oct. 28 at Samis Farms outside of Drayton, are expecting lots of people to learn about trees from the experts.

The day is free and includes lunch and a tour of two farms where trees have been planted.

It also features information about the Trees for Mapleton program, how to get help developing a tree planting plan at no cost, and how to get financial assistance for the trees.

Then, most importantly, it provides information on why to plant trees, where to plant them and how to look after them. There is also a pruning workshop.

Trees for Mapleton has been dedicated to planting trees because current tree cover in the township is under 10 per cent, and it is even as low as three to four per cent in some areas. That is a long way from the 30 per cent forest cover recommended by Environment Canada for a healthy watershed.

Mapleton Township has some of the lowest tree cover in the Grand River watershed due to its highly productive agricultural land and the hard working farming history, said Myles Henderson, Trees for Mapleton coordinator.

By adding trees as buffers along streams, living snow fences, shelter belts around homes and farm buildings, and wind breaks along farms tree cover would increase by 20 per cent and farm yields could go up.

So far, Trees for Mapleton has more than 160 property owners planting trees, but there is room for more.

One of the first of those was Paul Day, who has planted 20,000 to 25,000 trees on his property since 1974 and said he still has room for more. It is the economic factors that are the most convincing for many landowners, including Day.

“Trees are a production tool, just like seeds, soil drainage and machinery,” he said.

For example, the price of heating and powering barns may vary, but a $40,000 heating bill for a barn each year is common. Trees around that barn can cut those costs by 25 per cent.

 “We’re up against emerald ash borer. It is biting at our heels and taking trees out,” said Day, who is also chairman of the Trees for Mapleton steering committee.

Woodlots in Mapleton have about 25 per cent ash and the ash borer has been found within 50km of Mapleton, so it is a relevant topic this year.

For that reason Terry Schwan from the Ministry of Natural Resources will be offering strategies to manage woodlots as they face the threat.

For more information or to register for this workshop, contact Myles Henderson at 1-866-900-4722 ext. 2259 or mhenderson@grandriver.ca.