Guest Blog: Tree Planning from a Farmer’s Perspective

01-08-2013 in Green Farmstead Partner

By: Katie Olthoff, On the Banks of Squaw Creek
Last week, we braved the cold and stood outside planning some tree plantings around our turkey barns. We’ve talked about doing this for awhile, especially since two of our barns on along a well-traveled state highway. But we weren’t sure exactly what to plant or where.

There are a lot of reasons to plant trees around barns like ours – aesthetics, windbreak, snow fence, reduce odor – but there are also a lot of questions to ask. Will the trees affect the ventilation in the barns? Will they block air flow? How do you plant trees to create an effective windbreak?
What’s the most effective way to plant a snow fence? Will my new trees cause snow to drift where I don’t want it to? Will it cause snow to drift onto the highway? What kind of upkeep do the trees need? What about watering? What species are best? How far apart should they be? And on, and on, and on.

So for this big project, we decided to ask for help. The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers works with Trees Forever and the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association to assist farmers like us, who want to plant trees but don’t know where to start. We met with them (earlier this month) and are excited to get plans in motion for some beautiful trees.

Most barn sites are long and narrow, leaving just enough room for straight rows of trees… But we’ve got a little bit more room, and it really is On the Banks of Squaw Creek, so we’re hoping for a bit more naturalized look. The trees will be along the left side of this photo.

To learn more about these services, check out

Katie Olthoff and her husband Bart raise turkeys near Stanhope. Katie blogged about her recent experience with the Green Farmstead Partner program. Read Katie’s blog at

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