Tree, shrub workshop well attended
BALDWIN — The community room at the Lake County Historical Museum was filled to capacity last Friday as dozens came to learn about land management of trees and shrubs in the county.
Forrester Josh Shields, with the Manistee and Mason-Lake Conservation district, covered a wide variety of topics during the Planting Trees and Shrubs workshop.
Shields said trees and shrubs offer shade, beauty and aesthetics. They also create wildlife habitat, erosion control and timber.
One of the main points Shields emphasized was making sure native species can flourish in the area.
“What do you want your great-grandkids to see in your woods in years to come? This is determined by management today,” he said.
Invasive shrub thickets, such as autumn olive and honeysuckle, can harm habitat, and can crowd out trees.
“There are plenty of native options for thickets, which can work for deer cover, such as witch hazel. Witch hazel is medicinal and has lots of uses,” he added. “Leeks and raspberries can be mixed in with forests, too.”
Shields also discussed the importance of matching trees and shrubs with the right soil, sunlight and water conditions.
Jackpine and creeping juniper can tolerate harsh soil conditions.
“Certain tree species, like jack pine, can tolerate the worst soils imaginable, and you are in a county with some of the worst,” he said. “If you take a jack pine and stick it in intermediate soil, it will love you. People call me and say their jack pine is dying, and I say that’s just the way it looks. It will fill out more in intermediate soil.”