City of Florence - Project #189


Tree Planting Demonstration 

The purpose of the project was to re-establish riparian forest for multiple purposes and benefits including water quality, oil conservation, wildlife and aquatic habitat, recreation, forest products and environmental education.

 The City of Florence was severely flooded in 1951 which led to a reduction in population and to the construction of a levee in 1964 at which time the planting site became the property of the City.  A 10 year Forest Stewardship Management Plan was prepared for the entire 18 acres of woodland and tree planting sites owned by the City.

Tree Planting Machine 

1,703 Black Walnut seedlings were planted on 2.5 acres by machine with an 8’x8’ spacing.  Riparian forests provide flood amelioration, and the planting increased wildlife habitat for a variety of woodland species from neo-tropical migrant birds to an assortment of mammals.  A walking trail through the plantation provides recreational and environmental educational opportunities.  The City erected a wonderful stone sign recognizing the support of the Hardwood Forestry Fund in funding a part of this project.

Walnut Planting in Tree Shelters 

Other partners included the Kansas Forest Service, the Marion County Conservation Districtthe Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the American Tree Farm System.


2020 Update

 16 years after the planting, City Woodland Manager, Leonard Ellis, reports that the nuts planted on the West side of the river are doing quite well with some trees reaching 24 feet in height. About ½ were planted with tree shelters.  At about 4 inches in diameter, the trees will break these shelters as they grow, or Mr. Ellis reports he has removed quite a few as they were about to break. The nuts were selected from prime straight “veneer grade” trees in the Marion County area.  As a timber buyer, Mr. Ellis meet many local farmers, and would ask those with prime tall and straight trees to bushhog around them, so that he could collect the nuts in the fall.

 On the East side of Cottonwood River, seedlings were planted and they have not fared near as well as the selected nuts.  The seedlings came from the state nursery but may have originated from several surrounding states, and thus the quality and compatibility was not as well good.  About half of the seedlings were protected by tree shelters as well. Mr. Ellis was resourceful in finding help to plant the nuts and seedlings, using help from correctional facility inmates who needed community service hours.  14 years later, the trees are at a point where they need further thinning.

 At age 79, Mr. Ellis still shows a strong interest in sustainable forest management.  Thank you Leonard Ellis!