This is tree-planting time.  A few citizens in Albert Lea are now planting shade trees about their homes—but there are not nearly as many as should be doing this thing.  The Farm Bureau of Rock county, west of here, is this year making the planting of trees about the county its major activity.  The conditions existing in Rock county prevail not only in Freeborn county but all over the state. Why wouldn’t it be smart for all county farm bureaus to adopt the Rock county plan?  Here is what the Rock County Herald, published in Luverne, says about the movement:

The Rock County Farm Bureau is entitled to sincere commendation for promoting the movement for an extensive planting of trees in this county.  That there is real need of a campaign to promote tree planting in all sections of the county will be apparent to anyone who makes a drive in any direction, or in any part of the county.

Drought conditions of the last several years have raised havoc with our trees.  This is true in municipalities as well as in the country.  On nearly every farm can be found evidences of how the trees have suffered though lack of moisture. Rock county has long been noted for its wealth of fine groves, and for the beautiful trees which lined most of the highways.  But today these groves present, in a great many instances, a most distressing sight.  Innumerable groves may be found in which there not only are large numbers of dead trees, but in which a considerable part of the tops of all the trees are dead.  No grove can be found which has not suffered from the protracted dry weather.

While the drought has caused the greatest devastation among our once beautiful groves, other conditions have contributed to the decay and death of trees.  Most trees planted on the prairies of Minnesota in the early days of settlement were of the soft, quick-growing varieties.  In many instances these trees have attained the full years of their natural life, and are now decaying and dying. The drought has hastened the end, but in many cases eases the trees would have died anyway.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the benefit of trees particularly in a prairie county like Rock county.  Their benefits are not confined to the enhancing of the beauty of farm homes, nor to the service of windbreaks, important as both of these things are to the community as a whole. Trees also are invaluable as a source of conserving and producing moisture.  A study of the subject is productive of irrefutable evidence that sections of the country where trees abound constantly enjoy heavier and more uniform rainfall than sections where trees are few and far between.

What is true of the rural sections in the matter of the destruction of trees is equally true in the city of Luverne.  During the last several years an incredible number of trees have been cut down for various reasons, but comparatively few have been replanted.  Until a few years ago, Luverne was widely famous for the profusion and beauty of her shade trees, but unless steps are taken at once to restore the devastation that has taken place this enviable credit to the community will be lost.

Valuable as are many of the activities of the farm bureaus, no part of its program can prove of greater or more lasting benefit to the county than that pertaining to tree planting. There is real need of an earnest campaign to promote wide-spread planting of trees, and it is seriously to be hoped that the public will co-operate to the fullest possible extent.

Source: Albert Lea Evening Tribune, April 18, 1934

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