Environment & Weather
Yard and Garden: Planting a Tree PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Iowa State Univ Extension Office   
Monday, 02 May 2011 09:15
There are many reasons besides celebrating Arbor Day on April 29 to plant a tree -- trees conserve energy,
bring beauty to the yard, attract birds and help clean the air, to name just a few. Iowa State University Extension
garden experts have tips for planting trees and caring for newly planted trees. Gardeners with additional
questions can contact the experts by calling or emailing the ISU Extension horticulture hotline at 515-294-3108
or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

What is the proper way to plant a balled and burlapped tree?

When planting a balled and burlapped tree, dig a hole that is two to three times wider than the diameter of the
tree’s rootball. The depth of the hole should be two or three inches less than the height of the rootball. Slope the
sides of the hole so the top of the hole is several inches wider than the bottom.

Grasping the tree’s rootball, carefully lower the tree into the hole. The top of the rootball should be
approximately two or three inches above the surrounding soil line. Make sure the trunk is straight. Then begin
backfilling with the original soil. Do not add compost, peat or other organic materials to the soil. Gently firm
the backfill soil in the hole with your hands.

When the planting hole is one-half full, cut and remove all twine. Also, cut away and remove the burlap on the
top one-third to one-half of the rootball. If the rootball is in a wire basket, remove the top one-third to one-half
of the basket. Completely fill the remainder of the hole with soil. Place soil up to the top of the rootball and
gradually slope it down to the surrounding soil line. Thoroughly water the tree.

Poorly drained sites are difficult locations for many trees. When selecting trees for these sites, choose trees
that can tolerate poorly drained conditions. In poorly drained soils, the depth of the planting hole should be
approximately two-thirds of the height of the rootball. When placed in the hole, the top one-third of the rootball
should be above the surrounding soil. Fill the hole with soil. Place soil to the top of the rootball and gradually
slope it down to the surrounding soil line.

What is the proper way to plant a container-grown tree?

When planting a container-grown tree, dig a hole that is two to three times wider than the diameter of the
container. The depth of the hole should be two or three inches less than the height of the soil ball. Slope the
sides of the hole so the top is several inches wider than the bottom. In poorly drained soils, the depth of the hole
should be approximately two-thirds the height of the soil ball.



Once the hole has been prepared, carefully lay the tree on its side. Tap the sides of the container to loosen the
soil ball from the container, and then slide the tree out of its container. All containers should be removed, even
supposedly plantable containers. If the sides of the soil ball are a mass of roots, carefully shave off the outer ½
to 1 inch of the soil ball with a sharp spade or saw. Place the tree in the hole. The top of the soil ball should be
approximately 2 or 3 inches above the surrounding soil. In poorly drained sites, the top one-third of the soil ball
should stick above the surrounding soil.

Gradually fill the hole with soil. With each new addition of soil, firm it in place with your hands. Place soil to
the top of the soil ball and gradually slope it down to the surrounding soil. Once planted, water thoroughly.

Should I fertilize a newly planted tree?

It is generally not necessary to fertilize newly planted trees. Most Iowa soils can supply sufficient amounts of
nutrients during establishment. If trees are growing poorly two or three years after planting, fertilization may be
beneficial. Poorly growing trees often exhibit sparse foliage, yellow-green leaves or short annual twig growth.

Should I stake a newly planted tree?

Staking is not required for most newly planted trees. However, large trees and those planted in windy, exposed
sites may require staking. If staking is necessary, allow the trunk to move or sway for proper trunk and root
development. To prevent damage to the trunk, use strong, wide strips of canvas, rubber or other materials to
support the tree. Remove the stakes as soon as possible. In most cases, stakes should be removed after one
growing season.

How should I prune a newly planted tree?

Trees utilize sugars and other carbohydrates manufactured by the foliage for plant growth. Therefore, avoid
the temptation to severely prune newly planted trees. Severe pruning reduces the tree’s ability to manufacture
food and actually slows plant growth. Newly planted trees require only corrective pruning. Remove structural
defects, such as double leaders and dead, broken or crossing branches. Retain most of the lower branches to
help stabilize the tree. The lower branches also provide food for the growing tree. Gradually remove the lower
limbs as the tree grows during the next five to 10 years.

How often should I water a newly planted tree?

The key to watering newly planted balled and burlapped and container-grown trees is to keep the plant’s
rootball moist for several weeks after planting. Water newly planted trees every day for four or five days and
then gradually reduce the frequency of watering. When watering, slowly apply water to the rootball and the
surrounding soil. A thorough watering every seven to 14 days (in dry weather) should be sufficient four to five
weeks after planting. Continue this watering schedule through summer and into fall. Small trees usually require
watering for one or two growing seasons. It may be necessary to periodically water large trees for two or three


Governor Quinn Activates Illinois National Guard Troops for Flood Assistance PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Andrew Mason   
Monday, 02 May 2011 08:59

Visits State Emergency Operations Center

SPRINGFIELD – April 26, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today activated the Illinois National Guard to support flood-fighting and life safety missions in southern Illinois.  The initial activation includes up to 125 Guardsmen who are deploying to Marion to assist the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) with emergency response planning.  Additional troops may be activated if needed.

“The Illinois National Guard is a valuable asset to the state during disasters,” said Governor Quinn.  “During the February snow storm, the men and women of the Guard helped save many lives and I am very grateful for their assistance during the flooding.”

“The Illinois National Guard fully supports Governor Quinn’s activation of our Guardsmen for flood relief,” said Maj. Gen. William Enyart, Illinois National Guard Adjutant General. “These Guardsmen are fully trained and motivated to assist in this mission to ensure Illinois citizens are safe from harm’s way. As always, we stand ready to answer the call for additional support if needed.”

Governor Quinn has received frequent updates on the situation from IEMA Director Jonathon Monken and today visited the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield where he was briefed on the current flood outlook and the state’s assistance efforts.  Representatives from more than a dozen agencies and organizations are working in the SEOC to assure a coordinated response of state assets and personnel to communities affected by flooding.

Also attending the SEOC briefing today were state Reps. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), Dan Reitz (D-Steeleville) and Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro).

Governor Quinn on Monday issued a disaster proclamation to ensure state resources are readily available to support local governments affected by a series of severe storms that have affected southern Illinois during the past two weeks.

State assistance provided to southern Illinois communities includes more than 210,000 sandbags, 89 rolls of plastic, two inmate crews from the Illinois Department of Corrections, several barricades and generators.  In addition, inmates at four Illinois Department of Corrections facilities filled more than 6,000 sandbags that were transported to communities by trucks from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

On Tuesday, IEMA deployed the agency’s Unified Area Command vehicle to Marion, which will enable representatives from several state and local agencies to work together on a coordinated response.

Earlier this spring, IEMA pre-positioned 325,000 sandbags and 200 rolls of plastic at an IDOT facility in Carbondale to facilitate quick deployment if floods threatened.

More information about the state’s flood response and flood safety is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.


Celebrate Arbor Day in Iowa by Planting Trees PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Arbor Day Foundation   
Monday, 25 April 2011 12:27

Nebraska City, Neb. (April 25, 2011) – Iowa’s Arbor Day is nearly here, and the best way to observe the holiday is to plant trees. Arbor Day in Iowa will be celebrated on National Arbor Day, April 29.

Before you get started, you want to make sure you’re planting the right tree in the right place. A tree serves many purposes. It is wise to first determine which functions are most important to you when selecting a new tree to plant.

The main functions of a tree are:

  • Shade: Trees are an excellent source for cooling because not only do they block the rays of the sun, they add water to the air through transpiration. Plant where you want the shadow during the hottest time of the year.
  • Beauty: Trees add color and can enhance your home depending on where it’s planted.
  • Windbreak: These are most effective when you plant trees in a dense, step-like arrangement of both conifers and deciduous trees.
  • Boundaries: Trees can help delineate your property.

Once you determine the tree’s function, you need to pick the best spot to plant it. To help ensure that you plant the right tree in the right place, there are a few things to consider:

  • Short flowering trees are ideal planted under power lines. These trees will not clash with the lines and will add color and beauty to your yard. Some examples of short flowering trees are redbuds, dogwoods and crabapples.
  • Large deciduous trees are best used to shade your home and yard. These trees should be planted on the southeast, southwest and west side of your home to provide cooling shade in the summer and won’t obstruct the low winter sun. Examples of large shade trees are maples, oaks, spruce and many pine species.
  • To slow strong winter winds, many people use evergreen trees, but large deciduous trees work well, too. Windbreaks should be planted on the north side of your home, a fair distance from the nearest structure. Spruce, firs and pine trees make fine windbreaks.

Before you plant, you should also discover which trees grow best in Iowa. To do so, consult the Arbor Day Foundation’s Hardiness Zone Map at www.arborday.org/treeinfo, or contact a local nursery or arborist.

Once you’ve determined the function of your tree and which species you’d like, you’re ready to plant. You must take special care of your tree during planting time to ensure that it will grow healthy and strong.

When planting a containerized tree, there are six steps you need to take.

1. Call before you dig. Call the 811 hotline to have underground utilities located.
2. Handle your tree with care. Always lift it up by its root ball and keep its roots moist until you plant it.
3. Dig the proper hole. Dig 2 to 5 times wider than the diameter of the root ball with sloping sides.
4. Dig to the proper depth. The trunk flare of your tree should sit slightly above ground level.
5. Back fill the hole with native soil. That is, unless the soil is all clay. Tamp soil gently to fill large air spaces.
6. Mulch your new tree. Add 2-3 inches of mulch around the planting area but keep it 1-2 inches away from the trunk.

Planting instructions for bare-root trees and ball and burlap trees can be found at http://www.arborday.org/trees/tips/treePlanting.cfm.

Americans have been planting trees on Arbor Day since 1872. Nebraska City, Neb., resident, civic leader and agriculturist J. Sterling Morton urged Nebraskans to “set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit.” The tree-planting holiday was so popular that by 1920, more than 45 states and U.S. territories annually celebrated Arbor Day. Today, the tree-planters’ holiday is observed in all 50 states and in many countries around the world.


About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education of more than 1 million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org.

More Flooding Inevitable from Ohio Valley to Oklahoma PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Kristina Pydynowski   
Monday, 25 April 2011 12:22

State College, PA April 25, 2011 -- As the onslaught of drenching, and in some cases severe thunderstorms continues into Wednesday, new flooding issues will inevitably develop from the Ohio Valley to Oklahoma.

"Inches of rain have already inundated this area since Friday," stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Katie Storbeck.

Rainfall totals over the past three days are approaching 8 inches in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Muskogee, Okla. is near the 7-inch mark.

The ground from the Ohio Valley to Oklahoma cannot handle any more rain, but drenching thunderstorms will not stop, lasting into Wednesday.

In some cases, the thunderstorms will also turn severe with damaging winds, hail and even a tornado.

The potential exists for an additional 3 to 6 inches of rain to pour down through Wednesday with locally higher totals.

That amount of rain will only lead to more serious flooding problems.

Already-swollen streams and rivers will rise further out of their banks, inundating more neighboring land, roads and homes. Flooding will also worsen in low-lying, urban and poor-drainage areas.

"Feet of water could wash across area roadways," Storbeck reported.

Motorists should heed all road closures put in place by officials. Even if barricades are not in place, "Never attempt driving through flooded streets, as it only takes a few inches of flowing water to sweep away a vehicle," Storbeck warned.

Even where flooding is not under way, motorists will be faced with reduced visibility and a heightened risk of vehicles hydroplaning.

Fortunately, relief from the onslaught of rain will finally come Thursday and Friday.

The dry weather will give flood waters a chance to recede. The exception will be along larger rivers, where flooding problems will last longer, as runoff from smaller streams will continue to drain downstream.

The rain-free conditions will only be brief, as more thunderstorms are in the forecast for this weekend.

By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist

Moline Business Prevails over Mighty Mississippi’s Flooding PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Jake Glimco   
Monday, 25 April 2011 08:04

Friday, April 22, 2011 (Moline, IL) -- Nearly surrounded by the floodwaters of the mighty Mississippi, employees of one Quad-City company are demonstrating their endurance through this Spring’s floods. Doug’s Heating and Air Conditioning, located at 4530 River Drive, Moline, has never had to close because of flooding in its entire 65 years of business. Doug’s is now surrounded by sandbags filled and placed in mid-March by employees and the company’s insurance agents. Doug’s has survived three floods since 2005 alone.

Employees have worked tirelessly to elevate the merchandise they have in stock to higher ground to protect it from water that has seeped into the basement. So far, Doug’s remains mostly dry inside and open for business. Dedicated employees have had to park blocks away and hike across railroad tracks and plywood bridges to get to work. But customers should see virtually no impact from the floods. “We like to think of this as an opportunity to demonstrate our dedication to serving to our customers,” said Matt Hines, owner of Doug’s. “We sandbag so we can keep our business open. It’s required a lot of extra work, but it is the cost to have our great location.”

On Friday, April 22, 2011, Doug’s had two installations scheduled. The units were shipped to the customers’ homes, instead of the warehouse, which has almost become an island in the midst of floodwaters along a closed River Drive.

For more information on this story, or to schedule an interview, contact Leigh Geramanis @ 309-786-5142 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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