Conservation district taking orders for annual tree sale

Published 9:37 am Monday, March 4, 2019

CASSOPOLIS — Cass County residents with a green thumb will have a chance to “branch out” with their gardening through an annual fundraiser.

The Cass County Conservation District recently launched its 2019 tree seedling and fruiting plant sale. The annual fundraiser is currently taking pre-orders of trees and fruit plants. Catalogs can be found at the district office, 1127 E. State St., Cassopolis or online at Pre-orders can be done in-person at the office, through a mail-in form or over the phone at (269) 445-8641. Pre-orders, which are strongly encouraged by district employees, are due by April 8.

Tree sale pick up will be from 3 to 7 p.m. April 18, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 19 and 9 a.m. to noon April 20 at the Cass County Council on Aging, 60525 Decatur Road, Cassopolis.

“It’s hard to say how many years this has been going on, but the district has been doing this just about as long as they have been operating,” said Cass County Conservation District Administrator Korie Blyveis.

This year’s sale includes a wide variety of available trees and plants ranging from conifers to deciduous trees to smaller flowering shrubs. Fruit bearing plants, such as apple trees, pear trees, cranberries, blueberries and raspberries are also available. Plant bundles range in price from less than $5 to more than $100. Most trees can be bought in bundles of 5, 10, 15, 25, 50 or 100. Other gardening supplies, such as seedling mesh and compost bins can be purchased through the fundraiser.

This year, the district is aiming to raise at least $8,000. Those funds will be used to support district programs, such as educational programming, hiking series and other related events.

In addition to raising funds for the district, Blyveis said the annual sale could positively impact the environment, as planting trees can help prevent soil erosion and add extra oxygen into the air. Additionally, flowering and fruit plants can encourage pollination and support pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

“This can help with natural resource concerns, such as soil erosion,” Blyveis said. “[Trees] can also provide shade for people which reduces the use of energy in households. This supports the backbone of what we do. … These plants serve a purpose and add structure, but also add beauty.”

Blyveis said she would encourage anyone — even those who do not have the greenest of thumbs — to purchase a plant from the tree sale, as she said it is an easy way to get started planting that can benefit both the buyer and the environment.

“I would encourage anyone to plant something if they haven’t in a while,” she said. “New life in your yard will make you smile, and you will see the benefits of that plant take over a corner of your space.”