Conservation District holds Day of Planting at Ruby Ellen Farm

From staff reports

Join local foresters, certified arborists, and resource professionals for a day of planting at Ruby Ellen Farm, 5946 S. Center Highway, Traverse City, on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9 am-12:30 pm. This 150-acre Centennial Farm has been in the family since 1865, becoming part of the foundation when the last family owner, Rex Dobson, passed away in 2011. Rex was responsible for a lot of tree planting over the years. The farm is the iconic setting for the 2004 film Barn Red starring Ernest Borgnine. In 2005, Ruby Ellen Farm was successfully nominated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The farm’s mission is to use its natural and cultural resources to educate and inspire stewardship, self-sufficiency, and balanced relationships with nature and the community.

The goal of the Leelanau Day of Planting is to encourage landowners to plant more trees and shrubs in a sustainable manner for a healthier environment and future. Local foresters and certified arborists will teach how to correctly plant native bare-root seedlings, and containerized trees and shrubs of all sizes. Using proper techniques including adding amendments to the soil such as compost and biochar, mulching, and how to maintain those plantings will all help landowners have more success with their planting efforts. Pruning of more mature trees and shrubs and other maintenance tips will be led by Certified Arborist Tom Deering of Deering Tree Service. Tours of the farmstead will be led by Ruby Ellen Farm Board Member and Consulting Forester, Steve Alguire.  

Leelanau Day of Planting is a collaboration between the Farm Foundation, Leelanau Conservation District, Conservation Resource Alliance, Leelanau Conservancy, and the Consumers Energy Foundation. Learn about the ongoing Leelanau Conservation District Fall Seedling Sale and how you can participate in the Conservation Resource Alliance’s new seedling program called Wild Roots Initiative.  

Informing landowners on how to secure good quality, native species at an affordable price and teaching them how to do it correctly with the help of experts is what makes this event valuable and fun  for all ages. Light refreshments will be served. Please dress to be outside for the morning, rain or shine, with gloves and a shovel (if possible).  

For more information, contact District Forester, Kama Ross at 231-256-9783 or email