Frimann Family Farm of Lincoln County, Nebraska
Steve and Sharon Frimann began planting trees a few years after purchasing their home and rangeland in northeast Lincoln County. The initial planting of 560 trees and shrubs were planted under the Twin Platte NRD Conservation Trees Program in 1998. A combination of Austrian Pine, Jack Pine, Eastern Red Cedar, and Rocky Mountain Juniper were added to existing Cedar windbreaks as additional rows. Shrub plantings included Cotoneaster, Sumac, Sand Cherry, Choke Cherry, and Lilac. All trees and shrubs were planted into a prepared bed with water conservation mulch and drip tape installed under the fabric.
Steve used his own mulch layer with a drip tape attachment to lay the 4700 feet of mulch. Looking for a better way to protect young seedlings, the use of 30-inch tree tubes on 100 American Plums in 2010 proved successful. The peach colored tubes act as a miniature green house to protect young trees and shrubs from rabbits, and extend the growing season. In 2011, the Frimann’s tried a more ambitious project by planting an American Plum thicket around a quarter section of grass along with two rows of Eastern Red Cedar.
The Twin Platte NRD machine planted 1850 trees and plums along with 25,700 feet of water conservation mulch. Drip tape is used on all trees and shrubs to insure survivability. This phase was spread out over two years, with the help of the Natural Resources Conservation Service providing cost share. The end result creates a two-mile perimeter of shelterbelt. All of the plums are protected by the shorter grow tubes, while two additional rows of deciduous trees on the north side are in five foot grow tubes to stop the deer from browsing them down. It turns out that deer won’t browse above five feet – who knew. The deciduous trees include Honey Locust, Black Locust, Hackberry, Bur Oak, and Black Walnut. A single high tensile wire has been placed over the top of the plums to discourage the bucks from rubbing the shrubs into the ground, and so far this has seemed to work.
Three years later the benefit to wildlife is already apparent with grouse, pheasants, and the occasional quail spotted in the trees and plum thickets. They seem to prefer to hang out in the young shelterbelt, even nesting under the young cedars. With adjacent food plots and a pond in the interior of the quarter section, food and water are plentiful year around. Steve and Sharon would like to thank the Twin Platte Natural Resources District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service for their help in planning the projects and assistance with cost sharing programs that make improving wildlife habitat possible.