Alberta shelterbelt program still going strong

Alberta Nurseries has been working in conjunction with the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) for the past 17 years, growing and dispersing tree and shrub seedlings for the establishment of shelterbelts and other agroforestry, conservation and reclamation projects on eligible agricultural lands. Spring 2013, marked the end of an era, as due to budget cuts in the federal government, this was the last season to receive trees from the PFRA.

“The Alberta Shelterbelt Program however, continues to operate and Alberta Nurseries is confident in meeting the perpetual needs of residents in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, with their extensive facilities located in Bowden, Alberta,” says Alyssa DeGray with Shelterbelt Services. “We have the experienced staff and facilities to deliver quality seedlings. Our horticulturists and environmental technicians are also available to provide extension services where needed.”

The benefits of shelterbelts are numerous. Shelterbelts reduce wind speed, creating necessary microclimates. On average, a mature five-row shelterbelt, with at least two rows of conifers, planted around a farmhouse will reduce its heat requirements by 25 per cent. As well, the trapped snow provides water for dugouts and soil reserves, and the treed areas provide wildlife habitats and add biodiversity.

There are 30 different types of trees, hedges and fruits that can be purchased through the program. Everything is sold in bundles of 10 for $23 per bundle. The seedlings are all sized at about one foot tall.

Trees can be ordered online or by calling 1-403-224-3544. Orders for spring 2014 are already underway, and all orders will be taken until April 1. Trees are on a first-come first-served basis, so early ordering is advised. Trees will be delivered in May 2014.

“Wherever people build dwellings, one of the first things they turn to is planting trees for shelter, shade and beauty,” adds DeGray. “The longevity of the Alberta Shelterbelt Program is a testament to these and the many other benefits of trees.”

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