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DES MOINES – A popular program offering landscape quality trees at a deep discount to Alliant Energy customers will be held at eight locations across Iowa this spring. Residential tree distributions will be held in Clayton, Hancock, Hardin, Keokuk, Linn, Marion, Union, and Wapello Counties this April and May.
Alliant Energy’s Operation ReLeaf helps Alliant Energy customers save energy in their homes using trees to create summer shade and winter wind breaks. For maximum energy efficiency, shade trees should be planted within 30 feet of the east and west. Evergreens should be planted as a windbreak on the north and west of the home.
Through the program, Alliant Energy residential customers may purchase high quality landscaping trees for $25 each, on a first-come, first-served basis. These trees typically retail for between $65 and $125.
“Planting a diverse mix of trees on your property and in your neighborhood will reduce the likelihood of losing a large number of trees to forest health threats,” said Paul Tauke, state forester and chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forestry Bureau.
Tauke said they are encouraging homeowners who do not intend to treat for emerald ash borer to plant a replacement tree within 30 feet of the existing ash tree.
Foresters have been working with local partners to create a state tree inventory that will guide future tree planting efforts to keep a healthy mix of tree species.
Operation ReLeaf has 35 species of trees from which they select 8 to 12 species for each event. The species are based on the local tree inventory, and will include shade trees, ornamentals and conifers. Shade trees are 6 to 8 feet tall in 5 to 10 gallon containers and conifers are 3 feet tall.
Just a few of the advantages of yard trees are:
“All trees are purchased through a bidding process to promote local nurseries,” said Tauke. “This is a great way for homeowners to get a quality tree at an affordable price.”
Advanced order is highly recommended, and advance purchase is limited to two trees per household. In the event there are extra trees available on distribution day, those trees will be released for purchase at that time. Order forms are available online at www.alliantenergy.com/releaf.
Workshops lead by DNR District foresters discussing tree planting and care will be held at many tree distributions. Topics covered will include root flare and proper planting depth, correcting encircling roots, proper mulching and watering, corrective pruning to reduce future storm damage, planning around buildings for energy efficiency and emerald ash borer.
Operation ReLeaf is administered by the Iowa DNR’s Forestry Bureau with assistance from local partners, like county conservation boards, municipalities and county extension offices.
Operation ReLeaf participants must be Alliant Energy residential customers.