Urban Natural resource Management

Falk Farm

Farm Image

The landowners purchased a 5-acre property south of Omaha, Nebraska in 2000. Prior to their purchase, the land had been farmed, then used as a feedlot, and subsequently scraped off and converted to a pasture. The land remained in pasture for 10 years until purchased by the Falks. The rectangular lot has a rolling topography covered by grasses and a few invading red cedars (Juniperus virginiana L.). A small windbreak and driveway entrance planting of Austrian pines (Pinus nigra L.) that were approximately 15-20' in height were present on the property when purchased.

Landowner objectives include: (1) a home site; (2) plant a windbreak around the perimeter to reduce the prairie wind and dust from adjacent roads; (3) plant an avenue of trees along the driveway for aesthetic effect; (4) plant a variety of trees throughout the property to produce a combination of forest and field; and (5) plant trees to attract wildlife.

Northern red oak seedlings from local seed sources were grown by the Georgia State Nursery and transported to Nebraska as bare-root seedlings in 2001. Only the best seedlings, ca. largest 40 percent, were planted with the best seedlings lining the driveway. These seedlings were protected from deer browse and rub by a 6' Tree Pro™ tree shelter. Tree height and root collar diameter were recorded prior to placing the tube over the seedling. Fertilizer packets (2 bio and 1 silva; manufactured by Reforestation Technologies) were placed near the top of the planting holes. Other seedlings were planted around the property. Shelters protected some seedlings and others were simply planted. Unfortunately, 2001 was the first year of a 3-year drought and tree growth was correspondingly affected. Nevertheless, only one driveway tree died. Mortality was low in the other seedlings with the exception of the non-protected seedlings. Deer browse had almost totally consumed the seedlings by the end of 2001 and mortality was 100 percent.

Over the years, other species, e.g., English oak and black walnut, grown at the Georgia State Nursery, have been planted on the Falk property. The landowners have been very resourceful and have dug wildlings (naturally occurring seedlings and saplings) and planted them as windbreaks.