A popular program offering landscape-quality trees at a deep discount to Alliant Energy customers will be held at eight locations across Iowa this fall. Residential tree distributions will take place in Buena Vista, Fayette, Jefferson, Jones, Lee, Linn, Lucas and Story counties this September and October.


Alliant Energy’s Operation ReLeaf helps Alliant Energy customers save energy in their homes using trees to create summer shade and winter windbreaks. For maximum energy efficiency, shade trees should be planted within 30 feet of the east and west sides of a house. Evergreens should be planted as a windbreak on the north and west sides.


Through the program, Alliant Energy residential customers may purchase high quality landscaping trees for $25 each, on a first-come, first-served basis. These trees typically retail for between $65 and $125.


“Planting a diverse mix of trees on your property and in your neighborhood will reduce the likelihood of losing a large number of trees to forest health threats,” said Laura Wagner, Operation ReLeaf coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.


Wagner encourages homeowners who do not intend to treat for emerald ash borer to plant a replacement tree within 30 feet of the existing ash tree.


Foresters have been working with local partners to create a state tree inventory that will guide future tree planting efforts to keep a healthy mix of tree species.


Operation ReLeaf has 35 species of trees from which they select eight to 12 species for each event. The species are based on the local tree inventory, and will include shade trees, ornamentals and conifers. Shade trees are 6 to 8 feet tall in 5- to 10-gallon containers and conifers are 3 feet tall.


Just a few of the advantages of yard trees are:


Decrease in household heating and cooling costs


Increase in property values


Decrease in storm water runoff, which may reduce flooding events


Beauty and personal enjoyment


“All trees are purchased through a bidding process to promote local nurseries,” said Wagner. “This is a great way for homeowners to get a quality tree at an affordable price.”


Customers are encouraged to order early, as these trees sell out quickly. Advance purchase is limited to two trees per household. In the event there are extra trees available on distribution day, those trees will be released for purchase at that time. Order forms are available online at www.alliantenergy.com/releaf.


Workshops lead by DNR foresters discussing tree planting and care will be held at most tree distribution sites. Topics covered will include root flare and proper planting depth, correcting encircling roots, proper mulching and watering, corrective pruning to reduce future storm damage, planting around buildings for energy efficiency and emerald ash borer.


Operation ReLeaf is administered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, with assistance from local partners, like county conservation boards, municipalities and county extension offices.


Operation ReLeaf participants must be Alliant Energy residential customers.