Brody Larson carried a box of tree saplings to be passed out to the kids. Scott Holien (left) and Jeff Yeo of the Minneota City crew planted a tree on Second Street.

Rain interrupts ‘Arbor Day’ planting

Each spring, the City of Minneota and the Lyon County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) team up to plant a tree with local fifth graders in celebration of Arbor Day.

This year, some delayed April showers unfortunately pushed the celebration indoors.

The fifth graders gathered in St. Edward’s Church basement to stay out of the rain as they learned about planting trees and caring for them.

Scott Holien, representing the City of Minneota, and Luke Olson and Devin Ryan, from Lyon County Soil and Water, were on hand to educate the students about trees and the planting project they planned to complete later. The students brainstormed benefits of trees, such as the oxygen, shade, wind cover, and fruit they can provide.

Olson also discussed factors that should be considered before planting trees.

He pointed out that it is important to look down the road even fifty or one-hundred years from now because trees stick around a long time. They will grow for many years and affect the environment around them.

Mature size, sun preference, and soil conditions are also factors to consider. The presenters pointed out that trees should be planted a safe distance from buildings, underground cables, and telephone wires.

The fifth graders also learned how to protect young trees and prevent damages to older ones.

Protective tubing and/or fencing can be placed around young trees to keep deer and other animals from harming it. Mowing and weed whacking can be a threat to older trees as well.

A nick in the trunk can have long-term effects on tree health. A nick can damage the tree’s vascular system, and as a result, the tree may be smaller and less resilient than it would have been.

Holien recommended that students check with local nurseries to learn what kind of trees thrive in this area and how to care for them. The fifth graders from Minneota Elementary and St. Edward’s School in Bree Anderson, Keven Larson, and Liz Miller’s classes attended the celebration.

The students got to take home Colorado Blue Spruce saplings to plant on their own.

Though the rain prevented the students from helping, the City planted two Spring Shore Crab trees in a residential area on the corner of Second Street and Adams Street (behind Bank of the West) later that afternoon.

Holien explained that they plant new trees every year.

They chose this location because they had to remove several trees from the area during a road construction project last year. Holien said they also decide where to plant trees based on citizen requests.

Holien, Olson, and Ryan talked about how kids remember the trees that they plant.

They have been planting trees for Arbor Day for many years now, and Holien described how the students feel involved and proudly drive by later to show their families.

Luke Olson

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