Green Farmstead Partner Profile: Kelly Tree Farm

10-26-2017 in Green Farmstead Partner

By Haley (Banwart) Berry, CSIF Assistant Field Specialist  

For over 50 years, Kelly Tree Farm has been a leader in designing and planting windbreaks around livestock farms.  It’s a niche the Iowa based nursery became well-known for under the direction of Kevin Kelly, the original owner.

In 2016, Kelly Tree Farm transitioned into the good hands of current owner and manager, Jacob Dohmen. Dohmen’s educational background in conservation management and biology coupled with an internship and several years of full-time employment at the tree farm made him an ideal fit for the position.

“My dad has been planting Christmas trees since 1991, so I grew up planting trees on his property, and then moved over with Kevin to doing Christmas trees as well as the nursery side of things,” said Dohmen. “I’ve always wanted to work outside, so working at the tree farm was something where I could take my knowledge from school and apply it.”

Planting trees around livestock barns continues to be a focus at Kelly Tree Farm. According to Dohmen, many of his repeat customers quickly realize the value of their investment.

“No one I’ve worked with has ever been disappointed by planting a windbreak, they usually wish they would have done it years ago,” said Dohmen. “For one it helps from a neighbor relations aspect, especially for farms located on main highways, and secondly, trees can lessen energy costs by protecting barns from weather elements and providing proper ventilation.”

To maximize the lifespan of a windbreak, Dohmen generally recommends planting three rows of trees with an outer row of fast growing deciduous trees, such as the austere willow, for an initial screen followed by two rows of evergreen species for long term growth.

As Dohmen’s responsibilities have shifted from maintenance to management at Kelly Tree Farm, he has also filled Kevin’s role as a participant in the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers Green Farmstead Partner program (GFP).  For Dohmen, it’s an opportunity to share his expertise and services beyond his established client base.

“I look forward to working with the Coalition because they can be the ambassador in doing some of the groundwork with farmers, pointing them in the right direction and sending them our way for the final product.”

Located near Clarence, Kelly Tree Farm supplies and installs trees and shrubs across Iowa and in neighboring states. While Dohmen and his team specialize in on-farm windbreaks, their services also include windbreak design consultation, pre-plant site preparation, forest stand improvement and post-planting maintenance. For more information about Kelly Tree Farm, visit www.kellytreefarm.com or www.windbreaktrees.com.

The Green Farmstead Partner program was created by farmers to help other farmers who are interested in establishing windbreaks. It is offered by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers with the help of Trees Forever and the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association. All livestock farmers are eligible for the program.

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