Portage County – Now that spring is in the air, outdoor projects are on the top of most people’s minds. The folks at Portage Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) want to share their expertise to help you select the ideal trees and shrubs best-suited for your landscape. By consulting with area experts and listening to patron feedback, the Portage SWCD has created a list of area’s most-desirable trees and shrubs for its 2013 sale.
One such expert is well-known Portage County naturalist, Emliss Ricks, who was pleased to see plants like black huckleberry and bunchberry included, both of which are decreasing in number due to habitat loss. Christmas tree grower, Bob Stehli of Wintergreen Tree Farm also provided advice about which evergreens to include in the sale. Following the advice of ODNR Regional Forester, Mark Wilthew, Portage SWCD was able to locate persimmons grown from northern collected seed, increasing the possibility of fruit in our area. Wilthew also provided input on the best oaks to include in the sale for wildlife purposes.
Based on many patron requests, the Portage SWCD sale will also include a collection of blueberry bushes. Sierra, an early season variety, boasts large berries with excellent flavor and firmness. Rubel, a wild cultivar with one of the highest antioxidant levels, is also being offered. Since it is not a hybrid, the berries are smaller, with a very sweet yet wild flavor that is perfect for baking and preserving. Last is Draper, a medium sized, bright blueberry recognized for maintaining its excellent flavor longer in storage. In addition to the collection of blueberries, this year’s sale also includes black huckleberries for the first time ever. This Midwest native is extremely difficult to find in production, and offers spectacular fall color.
The Portage SWCD’s sale provides several native plants that listed as threatened, endangered, or extirpated — meaning just plain gone — in Ohio. While these species are generally difficult to find, the SWCD team is pleased to be able to offer a limited amount of these threatened ‘gems’ in effort to preserve Ohio’s rich plant diversity. You’ll find these plants in limited numbers in the lists, “Get It While You Can” category. Please note that quantities are limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so you’ll need to act quickly.
Take some of the guesswork out of buying trees and shrubs this spring by learning from the experts at Portage SWCD. Deadline to order is April 5, with tree pick-up from 9:00am – 6:00pm at Portage SWCD, 6970 State Route 88, in Ravenna on April 17, 18 and 19. Visit www.portageswcd.org for a full listing of available plants, descriptions and purchase information, or call Lynn Vogel at (330)297-7633