Your Tree Planter is Saving the World – One Tree, One Planting Tube and One Weed Mat at a Time

If you farm within the sprawling Chesapeake Bay Watershed or other sensitive watersheds around the country, there is a better than even chance, you’ve heard about USDA Riparian Forest Buffer Programs. These initiatives supported by the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership are actively working, in earnest, to take whatever strategies or financial measures possible, to encourage farmers, ranchers and landowners to plant trees next to waterbodies. Why? According to countless, well-founded, and funded studies, trees and shrubs provide ecosystem services and habitat that help with water retention and provide an innumerable water quality benefits to the world. The research is sound but some farmers still don’t see the value of trees, saying things like: “Those trees cause me more problems than they’re worth”, “I’ve been taking out those trees so I can farm more ground,” “You can’t eat a tree!” Truth is, when farmers are applying for support for things they want, like fencing, water systems or manure storage, including riparian buffers in their application gives them more points and a greater chance at funding. Plus, they're paid by the acre for letting us buy and plant those “pesky trees and their protection tubes.” But in spite of landowner negativity, trees continue to be planted. This important task, undertaken on other people’s land, is carried out by a mysterious force of underappreciated, mostly forgotten, local tree planters (li

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2 thoughts on “Your Tree Planter is Saving the World – One Tree, One Planting Tube and One Weed Mat at a Time

  1. Just last night my wife and I sat on the porch (with cold drinks) and watched two young Blacktail bucks –still in velvet– grazing in one of our re-wilding riparian areas. We talked about the difficulty of quantifying the value of planting trees like this. But math aside, there is absolutely no doubt about the tremendous nature of this kind of work, and how fortunate we are to be able to take part in it. And here’s more good news: other people are beginning to take notice.

    So, three cheers to the tree planters and their allies. Good work, Troy!

    1. Thank you John.
      Call me a conservation romantic; albeit hopeless. According to Pete Nowak, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I’m a subversive conservationist. (

      He suggests being more like the noble tree planter and solving local resource management problems by the act of doing and working with collective landowners who see the longer view of using different approaches that yield results that respect the children.

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