Weatherford Democrat

January 17, 2014

Making a green thumb greener

Seeds, tree seedlings and rain barrels on sale through SWCD


Weatherford Democrat

— Rain barrels, wildflower seeds, tree seedlings now on sale to benefit Parker County Soil and Water Conservation District.

There is still time to order tree seedlings for spring planting from the Parker County Soil And Water Conservation District.  Pre-paid orders are being taken through Feb. 10.

Delivered in bulk by the Texas Forest Service, seedlings will be ready for pick up March 3. The seedlings are affordable plantings that can replace dead or dying trees affected by drought.

Planting now will ensure great shade in the future.  A screen of trees on a home’s west side will begin to lower cooling costs substantially in the summer as they mature, while trees planted on the north side will eventually reduce heating costs. Trees can also be dust traps, catching falling particles on leaf surfaces that would normally stay in the air.

Rain barrels placed to collect runoff from a home’s roof can save untold dollars during the summer and could save precious plants and trees from the devastating effects of the hot summer sun.

Trees and shrubs are nature’s air fresheners because of their fragrant odor, their ability to disperse unpleasant odors, and clean pollutants and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Trees sequester a large amount of carbon during their life span, but absorption slows as the tree ages.  Saving 25 million trees a year can reportedly have the effect of removing 60 million pounds of pollutants from the air yearly.

The Texas Forest Service provides the seedlings for the district’s annual sale and is shipped from their West Texas Nursery in Idalou, Texas, at the end of February. Each year the choices are slightly different, but always include native hardwoods, evergreens and a selection of shrubs. This year evergreen species include Afghanistan Pine, Oriental Arborvitae, Austrian Pine, Bald Cypress, Deodara Cedar, Fourwing Saltbush, Italian Stone Pine, Lacebark Elm, and Pinyon Pine. Seedlings are generally 6 to12 inches tall and come in plastic tubes. Each has a root volume of 10 cubic inches and sells for $2.80 each or in sealed boxes of 25.

Bare-rooted hardwood seedlings are generally 12–18 inches in length and are only available for purchase in lots of 25 for $35 each. Hardwoods offered this year include Black Cherry, Green Ash, Hackberry, Bur Oak, Chinkapin Oak, Sawtooth Oak, Shumard Oak, Osage Orange, Pecan, Sand Plum, and Aromatic Sumac.

Rain barrels are the district’s newest sale item.  Rainwater is naturally soft and does not have chemicals that are added to our drinking water, so plants have a tendency to grow healthier when using rainwater.  And, everyone knows that rainwater is the best for watering plants. Rainwater lacks chlorine and is chock full of nutrients and micro-nutrients essential for plant health.

It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of rainfall in an urban area runs off instead of soaking into the ground. Why?  Because much of our land is covered by concrete – roads, driveways, buildings, etc.  Rain barrels make it easy to capture and store water that can be used later.  And it is cheap – free water that doesn’t have to be paid for, just captured.

Rain barrels are available in a terra cotta color in the 50-gallon capacity for $93, the 53-gallon capacity for $103, and the 60-gallon capacity for $120.  The 63-gallon capacity for $125.00 and the 67-gallon capacity for $130 are only available in blue. Made from recycled food grade containers, rain barrels are an excellent choice for capturing runoff for summer use that would otherwise be lost. Flex elbows, barrel connectors and diverters are also available.  All prices include shipping from the manufacturer straight to the buyer’s door.

Wildflower mixes are available in one pound bags and sell for $26 each.  Mixes contain 13-17 different flowers covering an area of more than 2,000 square feet. 

Information may be obtained by calling the Parker County SWCD on Thursdays or Fridays from 8 a.m. to  4:30 p.m.  at 817-594-4672, ext. 109, or by emailing the district at parkercountyswcd@tx.nacdnet.org. Also, check out the district’s website at www.parkercountyswcd.org

The Parker County SWCD is located in the USDA Service Center at 604 N. Main St., Ste. 100, in Weatherford.