Which trees are best for your farm? Learn more at PFI field day – Aug. 26, Woodward

For Release: August 12, 2015

WOODWARD, Iowa — There are many reasons to consider planting trees and shrubs on your farm – protection against wind and snow, shade for livestock and people, energy savings, diversifying the farm’s enterprises, and creating wildlife habitat, to name a few. Like any other farm improvement, however, trees and shrubs are a financial investment. That’s one reason why tree specialist Mike Bevins advises farmers to look at native species first. He also cautions farmers to avoid some of the common mistakes that can cause newly planted trees to fail.

“The two biggest keys to new plant establishment are adequate watering and minimizing competition from weeds and grass,” says Mike, who owns and operates Iowa Native Trees and Shrubs near Woodward. “Most Iowa soils are very fertile, so additional nutrients are not needed.”

Mike will share his expertise with selecting, caring for and integrating native trees and shrubs onto your land at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day he is hosting on Wednesday, Aug. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon. The event – “Propagating Native Trees and Shrubs for Your Farm” – is free to attend, and open to anyone. Iowa Native Trees and Shrubs is located at 1467 296th Place, about 8.5 miles northeast of Woodward.

Mike specializes in propagating and growing native plants from locally collected seed. He will guide attendees through his process for collecting native seeds, germinating various trees and shrubs, root pruning, and caring for and maintaining young trees. Guests will learn about the importance of planting species native to Iowa, and Mike will offer suggestions for trees and shrubs they should consider for their specific farms and goals.

Mike uses a patented system of root pruning containers designed to stimulate healthy root production. He says these containers, developed by Iowa State University alumnus Carl Whitmore, promote extremely fibrous root systems that help plants thrive better after being transplanted. But he adds that site selection, landscape design and post-planting care are still important.

“Try as much as possible to match the plant requirements to the site conditions – especially soil type and drainage – as well as sunlight and available space,” Mike says. For farmers who aim to provide more wildlife habitat, he says that species and vertical diversity are key.

“Interplant low-growing shrubs, mid-sized trees and large shade trees. Mix evergreens with deciduous trees, and combine species that produce fruit early, such as serviceberry, with mid-season fruits and trees that produce late-season fruits and nuts, such as viburnums and oaks. Native trees and shrubs provide the food, shelter and cover needed by the smallest of insects to white tail deer, and all the wildlife in between.”

Directions from the west: Take U.S. 30 East to L Avenue / County Road R18 and right (south). Go about 5 miles to Co Rd E57 / Luther Road and turn left (east). In 1.7 miles turn right (south) on Magnolia Road and go 3.2 miles to 300th Street (a gravel road); turn left. Take 300th Street past the “Dead End” sign to Olive and turn left. Notice the greenhouse in the distance. Turn right toward the greenhouse and take the second driveway; there is parking behind the barn.

From the east: Take U.S. 30 west to Exit 137 toward Madrid. Turn south on state Route 17 and go about 5 miles to Luther; turn right (west) onto Co Rd E57 and follow it over the river and up the hill (about 5 miles) to Magnolia Road. Turn left and follow the directions from this point listed above.

From Woodward or Madrid: Take state Route 210 to 325th Avenue / Co Rd E62 on the west side of the river and turn left (north). In about 2 miles, turn right onto Magnolia Road / Co Rd R26 and follow it to 300th Street; turn right (east). Follow the directions from this point listed above.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2015 field day season features 40 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is available online at practicalfarmers.org, or contact the PFI office at (515) 232-5661 to request a printed copy.

Practical Farmers’ 2015 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; BlueStem Organic Feed Mill; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment Company; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa Farm Service Agency (USDA); Iowa Farmers Union in partnership with Town and Country Insurance and Hastings Mutual Insurance; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying and Seeding, Inc.; La Crosse Seed; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; The Nature Conservancy in Iowa; Pro-Soil Ag Solutions; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed and Honey Company.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit https://www.practicalfarmers.org.


Mike Bevins | Iowa Native Trees and Shrubs | (515) 975-3158 | ints@minburncomm.net | www.iowanativetreesandshrubs.com

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | tamsyn@practicalfarmers.org