Seedlings available Feb. 1 at USDA

Published 6:00 am Sunday, January 20, 2019

Two things today; one a yearly event and the other a bit of news for some readers.

The Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual Arbor Day handout of free tree seedlings will happen Friday, Feb. 1. The location is the same as in past years, the local USDA building parking lot at 2660 Sherman Avenue. 

Distribution of seedlings will begin at 8 a.m., and last until noon or until there are none left.  Each county resident is entitled to a packet that contains six seedlings, one each of six species that grow well here. Also, pine seedlings will be available by the handful. 

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Now, don’t come with expectations to claim seedlings for yourself plus neighbors and relatives. The deal is one packet per person present. 

The best way to ensure seedling survival is to hydrate the roots as soon as possible. Do not leave the bag of trees as is on the floorboard or desktop all day. Wrap the roots in wet paper towels until quitting time. Overnight in a bucket of water is okay; a week is not so good. With a Friday pick up, get them planted over the weekend.

This year’s seedlings include one each of Live Oak, Cherry Bark Oak, Crepe Myrtle, Bald Cypress, Red Maple and Dogwood. The pines are Loblolly. All these species are native here except the Crepe Myrtle, which loves this environment and is not an escapee problem like some imports.

Got Conservation District seedling questions?  Call 601-630-0278, extension 3.   

For the new news; some residents are not aware of the retirement of Raymond Joyner as District Conservationist here.  His 35-year career with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service ended the last day of 2018. 

Raymond was responsible for promoting and administering the numerous federal programs available for soil and water conservation on both private and local public property. In some cases, programs involved cost share in which landowners or the county or city government paid for part of construction costs with the federal government paying the remainder. Even when there was no funding program available for a specific erosion or drainage problem, the district conservationist and staff along with NRCS engineers were available for consultation and design to prevent or cure gullies and flooding. 

A Warren County native, Raymond began his NRCS career here in 1983 as a technician, transferred to Claiborne County early on as District Conservationist there and 19 years later returned to serve in that same role in Warren County. Additional recent duties included overseeing NRCS programs in Yazoo County.

It is not only rural landowners who benefitted from Raymond’s years of service. There are public roads and bridges in Warren and Claiborne counties that were prevented from being eventually washed away because of his efforts and cooperation with county governments. The cities of Vicksburg and Port Gibson have been benefactors of his initiation and follow-up on municipal cost share drainage and conservation projects.

Will Raymond drop by this year’s tree seedling give away? You never know with us retired government “has beens.”

Terry Rector is spokesman for the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District.