Reduced-price trees available through program to Alliant Energy customers

Operation ReLeaf takes place Thursday in Anamosa

ANAMOSA — A program offering landscape quality trees at discounted prices to Alliant Energy customers will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Jones County United States Department of Agriculture Office, 300 Chamber Dr., Anamosa.

Operation ReLeaf is a program to help Alliant Energy customers save energy in their homes using trees to provide shade during the summer and create wind breaks during the winter. For maximum energy efficiency, shade trees should be planted within 30 feet of the east and west and evergreens should be planted as a windbreak on the north and west of the home.

Through the program, Alliant Energy residential customers may purchase landscaping trees for $25 each. These trees typically retail for between $65 and $125, according to program officials.

Advanced order is 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 alliantenergy.com/releaf.

“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 Jeff Goerndt, state forester with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Goerndt 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 community tree inventories that will guide future tree planting efforts to keep a healthy mix of tree species.

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The DNR has a target for communities that no more than 10 percent of the trees are from any one species, and no more than 20 percent is from one genus.

Trees available at each distribution event are determined by the local tree species inventory. For Anamosa, species available include tulip tree, swamp white oak, serviceberry, edible plum and baldcypress.

Shade trees are 5 feet to 8 feet tall in 5 to 7 gallon containers and conifers are 3 feet to 5 feet tall.

“All trees are purchased through a bidding process to promote local nurseries,” said Goerndt. “This is a great way for homeowners to get a quality tree at an affordable price.”

During tree distribution, a workshop focused on ways to avoid common mistakes that often result in dead trees takes place at 5:45 p.m. The 30-minute presentation will cover root flare and proper planting depth, correcting encircling roots, proper mulching and watering, correcting pruning to reduce future storm damage, planting around buildings for energy efficiency and emerald ash borer.

Operation ReLeaf, is funded by Alliant Energy and administered by the Iowa DNR with assistance from local partners, like the Jones Soil and Water Conservation District.

Operation ReLeaf participants must be Alliant Energy residential customers.

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