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Soil and Water District offers trees to compensate for storm damage

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As it does every year before spring, the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District is selling trees and shrubs. But this year, a rough winter that has damaged several trees in the area could mean more residents will take advantage of the annual event.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if they saw an increase in sales. People want to replace the trees they lost,” said Horticulture Educator Susan J. Gwise, who works for Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Mrs. Gwise advises residents on how to deal with damaged trees, assessing whether they need to be removed or simply pruned to repair the damage done by severe weather.

The district saw an increase in tree sales after the infamous 1998 ice storm crippled the county for two weeks, according to administrative assistant Rhonda Redder.

And while that storm was much more severe than what residents experienced this December, the district is still anticipating a bit of an uptick.

The trees, shrubs and seedlings, which range from blue spruce to raspberry plants, can be used to increase property values, reduce soil erosion and to create barriers to drifting snow.

The program also exposes the agency to a broader range of clients than the farmers and municipalities it traditionally serves.

“I think it’s a great program because it opens us up to a non-traditional clientele. It lets them know the services we provide,” said District Executive Director Christine M. Watkins.

The agency buys the trees and other plants in bulk, which allows them to offer lower prices, Mrs. Watkins said.

The Soil and Water Conservation District is accepting tree orders through March 12. Orders can be placed online at http://wdt.me/treesale.

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