September 30, 2013

The benefits of planting some shade

The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — The Oskaloosa area saw an increase in trees after Saturday’s Plant Some Shade tree distribution at the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds.

Matt Brewer, partnership coordinator for the Forestry Bureau of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, was on hand to distribute trees Saturday.

Brewer said around 110 trees of six different varieties were being distributed at Saturday’s event.

The trees, costing just $30 a piece, provide many benefits, noted Brewer, including improving the environment and beautifying areas where people live.

MidAmerican Energy is a statewide partner with IDNR in the Plant Some Shade Program, noted Brewer.

“Part of our goal, also, is to increase energy efficiency,” explained Brewer. “The best place to plant a tree is on the west side of your house for that afternoon shading. So, that’ll reduce the need for energy input in the form of air conditioners.”

IDNR is also partnered locally with Mahaska County ISU Extension and Oskaloosa Trees Forever, added Brewer.

Brewer was pleased with the turnout at Saturday’s Plant Some Shade tree distribution, as well as the participation level in the past.

Offering a diverse mix of tree species for the distribution effort is key, said Brewer. He noted that Emerald Ash Borer had been discovered in Fairfield and noted that having a diverse array of trees can help combat insect and disease threats to trees in the future.

Dave Ahlberg, a product manager with MidAmerican Energy, said the turnout at Saturday’s distribution was good. He also noted the energy efficiency benefits of planting spruce trees on the west side of a home. Ahlberg said they can provide natural gas savings in the winter time because they help block cold winds.

To learn more about energy efficiency, visit www.midamericanenergy.com/ee.

Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com.