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Its getting to be tree planting time again
Tree Planting

GAYS MILLS - Trees are important in our community. The village has a goal of planting enough trees to create canopy coverage similar to what existed prior to the arrival of emerald ash borer. While this does not always mean that a tree will be planted close to where every tree is removed, it does mean that many trees will be planted this year and in coming years.

The planting process begins well before trees arrive.  Decisions must be made about what types of trees will do well in different locations. Our village has the challenge of both dry, sandy soils and floodplain areas.  Trees that eventually will be large should not be planted close to utility lines.  Roots of elm and silver maple trees can plug water lines if planted close by. Even the percentage of trees of different types must be considered to minimize the risk from pest infestations and disease. Tree planting locations are marked with small flags and Digger’s Hotline contacted to ensure that no utility lines are cut during planting.

Trees are purchased from reputable nurseries. Some trees arrive at the village shop with bare roots. Those roots will immediately be covered with straw or wood shaving mulch and kept moist until planting. Other trees arrive in containers. They, too, must be kept moist and upright until moved to the planting site. A $1,000 grant from American Transmission Company helped pay for the purchase of trees this year.

At planting time, a hole much wider than the spread of the tree’s roots is dug.  The tree is carefully placed in the hole at the proper depth. This is critical. A contractor planted many of the crabapple trees behind the Gays Mills Mercantile Center too deeply and now they are dying. Soil from the hole is replaced around the roots while making sure the trunk is vertical. Breaking up clods of dirt and watering during backfilling ensures that no air pockets remain around the roots. Mulch is applied in a donut-shape around the tree trunk.  Mulch should be less than four-inches deep and it should not touch the tree trunk. Stakes are used only if a tree will not be stable without them. Thus, stakes are most commonly used in Robb Park where fast-moving floodwater tends to tip newly planted trees before new root development helps stabilize them.

Landowners should not plant trees or shrubs in the terrace or, in areas without sidewalks, closer than four feet from the road edge. The village must ensure that such vegetation will not conflict with use of those transportation routes. Shrubs or trees that cannot be kept within the confines required by the village’s tree ordinance may need to be removed.  Planting in the terrace area must be approved by the Gays Mills Village Forester and Gays Mills Village Board. Planting in the boulevard without prior authorization may result in removal of the tree or shrub.

Are you considering planting one or more trees?  The village’s Tree Board can make tree recommendations for different private planting sites and landowner objectives.  The on-line I-Tree web-site ( can help you design a planting plan to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

This document was funded in part by an urban forestry grant from the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forestry Program as authorized under s. 23.097, Wis. Stat.