Operation ReLeaf Coming to Storm Lake

A popular program offering landscape quality trees at a deep discount to Alliant Energy customers will be held at King’s Point Park, 1300 E Lakeshore Dr, in Storm Lake, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., October 4th.

Operation ReLeaf is a program to help Alliant Energy customers save energy in their homes using trees to provide shade during the summer and create wind breaks during the winter. For maximum energy efficiency, shade trees should be planted within 30 feet of the east and west and evergreens should be planted as a windbreak on the north and west of the home.

Through the program, Alliant Energy residential customers may purchase high quality landscaping trees for $25 each. These trees typically retail for between $65 and $125.

Advanced order is highly recommended and advance purchase is limited to two trees per household. In the event there are extra trees available on distribution day, those trees will be released for purchase at that time. Order forms are available online at www.alliantenergy.com/releaf.

“Planting a diverse mix of trees on your property and in your neighborhood will reduce the likelihood of losing a large number of trees to forest health threats,” said Jeff Goerndt, state forester with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Goerndt said they are encouraging homeowners who do not intend to treat for emerald ash borer to plant a replacement tree within 30 feet of the existing ash tree.

Foresters have been working with local partners to create community tree inventories that will guide future tree planting efforts to keep a healthy mix of tree species.

The DNR has a target for communities that no more than 10 percent of the trees are from any one species, and no more than 20 percent is from one genus.

Trees available at each distribution event are determined by the local tree species inventory. For Storm Lake, species available include American linden, quaking aspen, white oak, northern red oak, red bud, royal star magnolia and Norway spruce.

Shade trees are 5 to 8 feet tall in 5 to 7 gallon containers and conifers are 3 to 5 feet tall.

“All trees are purchased through a bidding process to promote local nurseries,” said Goerndt. “This is a great way for homeowners to get a quality tree at an affordable price.”

Just a few of the advantages of yard trees are:

· Decrease in household heating and cooling costs

· Increase in property values

· Decrease in storm water runoff, which may reduce flooding events

· Beauty and personal enjoyment

Studies have found that by having tree lined streets more people spend time outside which can improve activity and lower their body mass index, especially in kids. Studies also link trees to reduced asthma rates.

Operation ReLeaf, is funded by Alliant Energy and administered by the Iowa DNR with assistance from local partners, like the City of Storm Lake.

Operation ReLeaf participants must be Alliant Energy residential customers.