Trees and Shelterbelt
2013 will be the final year landowners can receive trees from the PFRA Shelterbelt Program. The cancellation of this program was announced last year and marks the end of over 100 years of providing free trees to farmers and other landowners. The program was originally started to establish shelterbelts across the prairies in an effort to prevent soil erosion and continued as an incentive to adopt beneficial management practices and environmental stewardship.
Many residents receive order forms in the mail from the Alberta Shelterbelt Program out of Bowden, this is a reputable private company but is not affiliated with the County.
Mature Trees can be purchased locally from Dendron Services in Bow Island, and bare root and potted trees are available for purchase at Bow Island Greenhouse. For our area we recommend Ash, Elm, and Poplar trees for establishing shelterbelts when water is available. Green Ash are long lived and show good drought tolerance and relatively fast growth with irrigation, there are few pests established in this area.
Elm trees are long lived and fast growing with irrigation but are not drought tolerant, the major pest threat is Dutch Elm Disease which is not present in Alberta, a strict pruning ban from April 1 to
October 31 prevents introduction of this disease. Poplar trees are fast growing but not long lived, stick with newer varieties such as Prairie Sky and Assiniboine as they have the best disease resistance. Some specialty poplars are very susceptible to schlerotinia in the irrigated areas of the County.