"The trick to planting trees is getting the root ball at the right height," said SIUC Urban and Community Forester Emily Hanson of the Harrisburg ReLEAF initiative Monday.
She was instructing a group of local master gardeners who had turned out to help plant 25 trees along the Tunnel Hill State Trail in south Harrisburg. The stretch of trail was directly in the path of the Leap Day Tornado. There were no trees there when the tornado went through. These will be a welcome addition to the beauty of the Trail.
AT&T funded the project said Melissa Wilson, Extension Educator for University of Illinois Extension. Wilson said the Harrisburg Re-Leaf Team was working on restoring trees to the Harrisburg area in the aftermath of the Tornado. This was the spring planting; there will be a fall planting as well, she said. The fall planting will focus on restoring trees on private land. The program has a cooperative of partners:
SIU Forestry Dept., Smith Tree Farm, U of I Extension, USDA Natural Service Resources Conservancy, Illinois Forestry Resource Center and Shawnee Resource Conservancy and Development.
Many different species were planted Monday. The grant from AT&T was for $5,000.
The species planted were: Six buroaks, one autumn blaze maple, two wildfire black gum, one little gem magnolia, one sunset maple, two American beech, one Donald Wyman crabtree, two emerald green arborvites, two downy serviceberrys, two hackberrys, one eastern redbud, one tulip poplar, two black tupelos, two white oaks, and two chinquapin oaks.