Fencing is available at reduced cost to help landowners protect tree seedlings from hungry deer. | SUBMITTED
The North Shore Forest Collaborative (NSFC) is providing low-cost fencing materials to private landowners who plant conifer seedlings on their North Shore property. The fencing prevents deer from eating the newly planted trees. Last spring, 38 participants planted and fenced over 1,000 white pine and white cedar trees on their properties along the Shore. An additional 3,000 white spruce trees, which do not require fencing, were planted.
Private landowners wishing to plant pine or white cedar trees on their land within the NSFC area may apply to receive reduced-cost materials for deer exclosures. Qualified landowners may purchase materials at one-third normal retail cost. The package includes a 50-foot roll of fencing, rebar and fabric mats with pins. This is enough to make four or five exclosures about four feet in diameter.
Priority will be given to landowners adjacent to Highway 61, those with an approved forest plan for their lands, or those who have participated in the Lost Forest training. Funding is also available to assist landowners who are physically unable to plant trees and erect exclosures on their property. These programs are being funded by a grant from the Weekes Family Foundation, with cooperation of Isak Hansen Hardware in Lutsen and Gooseberry State Park.
An application form is available at the NSFC website at northshoreforest.org. The enrollment deadline is April 7. Applicants will be contacted by phone or email and provided further information if selected for the program, including how to pay and where to pick up the materials. Those not selected will be notified by email.
The NSFC area is the Highway 61 corridor from Knife River and to the Canadian border. The area extends approximately three miles inland from Lake Superior. A map of the NSFC area is on the website.
Many birch trees along the North Shore are dead and dying, largely due to old age. Little new regeneration is coming in underneath. More details on why the birch trees are dying and what happened to the North Shore conifers can be found at the NSFC website.
To successfully grow new trees, pine and white cedar seedlings must be protected from browsing deer. While the cost of acquiring seedlings for planting is minimal, the cost of material for the fencing is often prohibitive for private landowners. This is the second year of a continuing and growing NSFC program to provide financial assistance for purchasing fencing. Landowners are responsible for procuring their own tree seedlings, and various supplies of tree seedlings are listed on the resources page of the collaborative’s website.
Additional information and videos on planting, erecting exclosures, and seedling sources is available at: northshoreforest.org/resources.