Award-winning group Story City Trees Forever to hold tree sale Saturday

Ronna Faaborg
Ames Tribune
Story City once again received both the Tree City USA and Growth Awards. Joe Lucas, center, and Cole Teig, right, accepted the awards from Jeff Goerndt, state forester.

As Story City Trees Forever gears up for its 26th annual tree sale Saturday, the organization has received several awards for its efforts.

Trees Forever USA awarded Story City with the Tree City USA award as well as the Growth Award.

The sale will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, while supplies last, at the former site of the Lone Tree Nursery, on the north side of American Packaging.

Trees cost $65 apiece and are available only to Story City residents. A limit of two trees per household will be in place until 11 a.m., and then if there are any remaining, residents can purchase more.

Since 1993, Story City Trees Forever has completed 99 projects in the community. The group has planted 3,126 trees and at a total of $562,560, which doesn’t include the 83 trees that will be planted this year, between the sale and the community plantings.

Story City Trees Forever is holding its 26th annual tree sale at the former Lone Tree Nursery Site on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

“We’re looking at nearly $600,000 worth of product that we’ve put back into the community,” said Mike Jensen, president of the local Trees Forever group. “It’s pretty amazing for a little group of about 25 people.”

On Saturday, May 7, Trees Forever members will team up with local Scouts and other volunteers to plant 33 trees throughout the community. The group will meet on the corner of Washington Street and Market Avenue.

“We always start with a tree-planting demonstration,” Jensen said. “It’s a good educational opportunity for the Scouts and also a way for them to help serve their community.”

The city has a few stipulations for anyone purchasing a tree at Saturday’s sale. All trees must be planted within the limits of Story City, either on private property or city property. To plant on city property, such as the street-side of a sidewalk, a permit is required at least one week prior to planting so the city can check for underground utility locations. Permits are free of charge and available at City Hall.

Story City Trees Forever members work at the annual tree sale in 2021. This year's event will be held Saturday.

Story City was the first town in Story County to detect the emerald ash borer in August of 2014. The green beetles’ larvae live and feed under the bark of ash trees, which cuts off the flow of water and nutrients, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The insects can kill a tree in two to four years.

“We know there are 1,400 ash trees that have to come down in Story City,” said Jensen, who is also mayor of the community. “We had a bunch on the golf course and on city property in the parks, and we’ve been taking them down since the emerald ash borer was found here.”

Contractor Rob Morgan has worked with the city for several years to take down 50 to 100 at a time.

Like many area communities, Story City was also hit by the derecho in August of 2020.

Story City Trees Forever is holding its 26th annual tree sale at the former Lone Tree Nursery Site on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

“Between the derecho and the emerald ash borer, we’ve lost a lot of trees,” Jensen said.

The community ended up with a pile of trees and branches that was about 370 feet long, about 70 feet wide and from 8 to 12 feet high, Jensen said. 

Golden Valley Hardscapes of Randall turned the pile to mulch at no cost to the city. The company took the mulch as payment for the work. 

The tree sale is made possible, in part, by support from the city of Story City and Black Hills Energy.