Trees & Wildlife Programs

Why Plant Trees

The Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District understands the importance of trees and how big of an impact they play in our environment. They can be used for windbreaks, to protect livestock and homesteads, to create wildlife habitat and to improve the overall scenery of our land. Competing with weeds for moisture and nutrients is one of the leading causes of slow growth and death in new tree planting projects.

The Upper Elkhorn NRD has solutions, such as Conservation Mulch, which can increase growth rates and survivability by lowering the competition with weeds and grass. Tree planting by Nebraska residents and the Upper Elkhorn NRD will be very beneficial to present and future generations who will care for our trees, which in turn will continue to protect us and our surroundings.

Tree Program Information

Trees are a very important part of our environment.  They can be used for windbreaks, to protect livestock, to protect homesteads, wildlife habitat, reduce erosion, buffer noise and to improve the overall scenery of our land.  We need to continue planting trees both in new and existing windbreaks and be vigilant in caring for them and they will continue to protect us and our surroundings.

Trees are made available to the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District through the NARD (Nebraska Association of Resources Districts) Tree Program. The trees are grown at Bessey Nursery, located in the National Forest near Halsey, NE, which has a well-established reputation for producing quality seedlings. They provide the NRD with a variety of different species of conservation seedlings which offer an advantage for both residents and wildlife.  The Upper Elkhorn NRD also purchases trees from Lincoln Oaks Nursery and Colorado State Nursery.  Click Here to Learn More About a Certain Tree Species.

Tree and Wildlife Program

District Planting Services

For assistance in planning your windbreak, you can contact your local NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) Office or the Upper Elkhorn NRD Office. A technician is available to suggest the type of trees best suited for your soil type and design a layout plan for your windbreak. The plan will include the tree species, an approximate number of trees needed and staking of the windbreak. All plans will be drawn up to meet the NRCS specifications.

The Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District will charge an additional fee of $125 if less than 150 trees are planted by machine or if the site preparation is not completed per the tree planting agreement.  A 50% deposit is required on all machine planted tree orders that are to be planted by the Upper Elkhorn NRD. Tree species will not be guaranteed until the 50% deposit is received. Orders for hand plant trees should be paid in full when the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District places the tree order to preserve the species.

Replanting Trees

The Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District understands that windbreaks are an essential part of many farms, ranches, acreages and supply needed protection for livestock and erosion control. Windbreak renovation is crucial to maintaining an effective windbreak.  Many windbreaks are growing old and dying out; therefore, not providing the protection they once did. To maintain an effective windbreak, replanting trees is very important.

Replanting trees should be done on a yearly basis to fill in the gaps created by the environment. Although replanting trees is a demanding task, a well-managed windbreak is needed to extend its longevity and effectiveness. Assistance in evaluating your windbreak and learning the best renovation techniques are available from your Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District.

UENRD Tree and Wildlife Program

How to Order Trees

Trees can be ordered by contacting your local NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) Office or the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District Office in O’Neill. Machine planted trees or hand plant tree orders will be accepted from November 1 to March 1. To assure the number of trees and species that you want is available, place tree orders as early as possible. Hand plant tree orders must be in multiples of 25 per species. Anyone wishing to have machine planted trees should contact the Upper Elkhorn NRD as soon as possible to schedule their windbreak planning.

Tree Species Available

ConifersBroadleavesShrubs
Eastern Red CedarNative CottonwoodCaragana
Rocky Mountain JuniperSwamp White OakSumac
Colorado Blue SpruceBur OakChokecherry
Norway SpruceBlack WalnutService Berry
Austrian PineCatalpaWoods Rose
Jack PineCrabappleElderberry
Ponderosa PineHackberryDogwood
HoneylocustHazelnut
Black CherryCotoneaster
American ElmLilac
Silver MapleAmerican Plum
Armur MapleGolden Currant
Hybrid PoplarBuffaloberry
Red OakGambel Oak
False Indigo

Material and Tree Pricing

Cost of Trees and Materials
Hand Plant Trees$1.20/tree
Machine Planted Trees$180.00/100 trees
Weed Mulch Installed$0.75/foot
Weed Mulch (By The Roll)$200.00/500 foot roll
Weed Mulch Squares$2.75 each
Plus Appropriate TaxesPrices Subject to Change

Cost Share Assistance Program

To promote tree planting for livestock, homesteads, wildlife habitats, and prevention of soil erosion, the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District has cost share programs available locally and through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Program. Trees, planting and conservation weed mulch are eligible for the cost share program. Cost share program applications will not be approved without a 50% deposit paid when ordering machine planted trees and 100% deposit paid when ordering hand plant trees paid.

There is a minimum requirement of 200 hand plant trees or 150 machine planted trees to be eligible for cost share. Cost share will be paid only on the practice and will not include any portion of the sales tax. Cost share forms must be filled out completely and returned to the Upper Elkhorn NRD office along with the full payment of your tree order  and weed mulch before awarded any cost share funds. Cost share program information can be obtained by contacting your local NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) Office or the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District Office.