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Author: Nicole Czemeres

HELP Tree Program

                        HELP International     

 Seeking Five Rural Municipalities Per Year to Participate


Free Tree, Plastic Mulch & Drip Irrigation System

November 1, 2023

HELP International Shelterbelt Program is seeking 35 RMs across the province over seven years from fall 2024 through 2030 who wish to participate in a free tree, free plastic mulch film and free drip irrigation program.  Based upon a first come first served basis HELP and its donors hope to assist five RMs per year who can identify five capable landowners in each of the RMs who agree to carry out successful tree planting by proper land preparation, planting 500 two year old tree seedlings including hybrid poplar, willow varieties and evergreens with plastic mulch and drip line on each property. In addition the same landowners will each be provided 50 free habitat trees to plant on their property including buffalo berry, sea buckthorn, chokecherry and dogwood. The RM itself will be given the incentive of 150 free saplings of choice along with free plastic mulch pads and drip line for any project within its authority area i.e.: hamlets, parks, roadways or municipal facilities.   The five landowners and RM must however commit to provide at their own cost:

  1.  All power trains, equipment and personnel for pre-working the land, for pulling tree planter and plastic mulch applicator, and for post-planting inter-row cultivation three times per year for four years following tree planting/mulching.
  1. All personnel for tree planting, plastic mulch film application, drip irrigation system installation, twice per year manual pulling weeds coming through tree holes for four years.
  1. Request from HELP free trees for manually replacing any trees that did not survive establishment from HELP for two years following tree planting.  Coordinate Weyburn pick up or pay shipping for free replacement trees.  
  1. If requested, HELP will provide an intensive two to three hour on-site assessment and planning session at any property at a cost of $500 payable by the landowner.  Alternatively HELP provides an hour of free telephone consultation for any landowner or RM requiring the same.  HELP’s website also has answers to hundreds of frequently asked questions including shelterbelt design options.
  2. Those RMs or landowners who wish to hire HELP or its affiliate organizations to provide contract installation services for trees/mulch/drip line installation can request a quotation for such services separate from the above mentioned free tree/mulch/drip irrigation program. In such case HELP or its contract partners would quote only for installation services and not for the cost of trees, mulch and drip line systems.   

Quality of Products

  • Majority of seedlings will be 2 year old seedlings i.e.:  poplars : 12 to 18 inch; willows: 15 to 36 inch etc
  • Plastic mulch film: 3.2 mil mulch is heaviest produced in tree industry & only available through HELP
  • Drip Line: 7/8 inch is largest volume available in drip line industry on prairies making it appropriate for both small and larger projects & longer distances at sustained water pressure. This punch and pop in emitter line is laid on top of the plastic mulch after tree planting. Free irrigation system comes with disk filter and all required fittings within the tree lines and for manifold construction.  

Interested RMs should fill out and send in the attached Request for Participation/Declaration of Intent by scan/email to HELP by December 30, 2023.  In the document, you will be asked to indicate the year and season (spring or fall) that you prefer HELP to deliver the free trees, mulch and irrigation supplies to the landowners you have identified (as well as supplies for the RMs own 150 sapling program).  You will be asked to indicate your 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th choice of year/season.   Applications will be processed and accepted in the order that they are received.  Only 5 RMs will be accepted for each year of programming on first come first served basis.  Only first 35 RMs to apply will be considered for the seven year program (and all this is contingent of course on funding).

Note that HELP is applying to the federal government’s Two Billion Tree Program for funding and is contributing cash and in kind contributions of its own.   A third donor is contributing the habitat trees. HELP will give acceptance to those RMs who have applied first who have identified five landowners who are considered highly capable of ensuring successful multi-purpose tree establishment including but not limited to shelterbelts, habitat development, stream margin buffers on cultivated lands, buffers between organic and non organic lands, giving back to nature forest blocks, dugout surrounds  etc.   HELP provides free trees for landowner replants for two years following the initial planting.   

HELP will provide partner RMs and landowners knowledge of the most leading edge advancements in anti drought tree planting strategies including deep planting, heeling/sealing, and water well/funnel construction at each tree.

HELP will work with five RMs per year beginning in fall, 2024

Note that evergreens (spruce and pine) are the only trees that do not establish well in a fall planting.  Other trees sometimes even do better in a fall i.e.: October planting.

Ultimate program delivery is contingent upon federal government funding.  Funding decision for current proposal intake will occur in July 2024 but proposals must be in shortly.  

If you require further information please email [email protected] or call 306-861-0814 with your questions.

Rodney Sidloski, CEO

HELP International

Shelter Belt Program

 Launch of Seedling and Sapling Sales for Fall 2023 Shelterbelt Plantings for Country and Town HELP International Shelterbelt Program now taking tree orders for 2023 Fall Planting Programs (Plantings should be carried out October 10 to 31 prior to hard freezing of ground surface) Trees will be available for pick up or shipping for SK, MB and AB customers October 9 to 15.
Prepare your land NOW! Fine deep till, sink up to your ankles garden texture! Plant deep: Full root plus 2 inches of lower stem underground.   Leave a water well depression below the landscape at base of each tree to give each tree up to five times the normal water from each rainfall or irrigation. Slight Price Increase: HELP’s base price for seedlings is $2.50 for global orders of 300 or more (combining all tree varieties). $2.75 for global combined tree orders of 50 to 290; $5 per tree for combined orders totaling 30 to 40; and $6 per tree for combined orders totaling 10 to 20. Please order only in multiples of ten!
DID YOU KNOW that in response to several years of drought like conditions HELP is now marketing fairly low cost drip irrigation systems of ½ inch; ¾ inch and 0.98 inch drip irrigation systems for DIY.  Find the irrigation systems for sale on line along with our trees at: For customers who prefer not to install trees DIY, HELP offers  on a contract basis: On site assessment and planning services; Shelterbelt Installation Services; as well as drip irrigation installation services.  
2023/2024 HELP CEO update  Did you ever consider that despite trees being located on your land space,  you are benefitting the entire region by producing more oxygen, stopping more wind, enticing more rainfall and creating more beauty and habitat?” 2023  has been an exciting year for HELP International as we have ramped up tree and sapling production higher than ever to meet the ever increasing demand for our trees.
Fall Planting It was our organization HELP International who started fall shelterbelt planting on the prairies back in year 2,000. Fall planting is now an established practice for all trees except NOT appropriate for spruce or pine.   Trees often do better when fall planted as they access the first moisture of spring!  We planted four varieties of poplar on our tree farm in mid October 2022 and put them on drip irrigation only in early June of this year.  After 90 days of growing ie: May 15 to August 15 the tiny seedlings are now between 18 and 48 inches in height.  These have outpaced seedlings planted this spring.   Planting can be done any time from October 1 till hard freezing of the ground surface in early November.
Sapling Sales Taking Off In addition to our 2,000,000 seedlings, HELP has increased its 10,000 sapling nursery to 20,000 saplings averaging four to five feet in height ready for fall planting including: Okanese and Tristis Poplar, Golden, Silverleaf and Laurel Leaf Willow. We also have potted Scot’s Pine and White Spruce in the 18 to 24 inch range. More varieties of saplings will be available by spring. To be on the safe side, we suggest you plant our larger saplings while dormant thoughout the month of October OR in late April/early May. We realized unexpectedly high potted sapling sales in our 2023 sapling launch year so are rapidly expanding that niche!
Shelterbelt Installation Services Many of you are aware HELP carries out on a contract basis the entire package of shelterbelt tree planting, plastic mulch laying, turf grass seeding and drip irrigation installation across Saskatchewan, Manitoba and into Alberta. Two thirds of all our contract planting clients also contracted us to install drip irrigation on their tree lines.  Ask for a quote today for contract shelterbelt installation for this fall or next spring.  We typically carry out up to 4,000 meters of shelterbelt installation per day ie: up to four rows of 1,000 m each.  An average planting is closer to three rows of 500 meters each.  We are lining up so far for fall plantings near Kerrobert, Winnipeg and near to our Weyburn headquarters. Sign up now no matter where you are situated on the prairies! We bring technicians, the trees, plastic mulch film, grass seed and irrigation supply and machinery with you pre-working the land and on day of planting you providing tractor and driver and a couple more things we will tell you about.
Drip Irrigation Sales HELP is now selling drip irrigation systems in packages for farms and acreage owners to also install on their own.  We are marketing two systems to choose from: The lower cost half inch line with pre-installed emitters at 90 to 100 cm spacing; and the 3/4 inch line which requires you to punch the line at every tree with a tool we provide and install a pop-in emitter (most folks install two liter per hour emitters.  We are putting together and marketing packages for both the half inch and 3/4 inch drip lines for the following: 3 tree rows of 100 m 3 tree rows of 200 m 3 tree rows of 300 m 3 tree rows of 400 m 3 tree rows of 500 m Allowing us to make up kits for each of the above allows us to provide a high number of extra fittings and accessories at the lowest system cost in the market place as we don’t have to design from scratch each system for each potential customer.  We are going ‘over the top’ with extra drip line, a valve for front and back end of each line,  more fittings than required for manifolds and double manifolds and double filters for systems with tree lines 400 m and more.  We provide step by step instruction for DIY. We’ll get a video up for instruction.  Tree Pricing You will see that our tree seedlings have taken a small price increase. However, if you compare you will see our prices are still the lowest in Canada’s marketplace.   A classic example is our carigana and lilac which sell for as little as one third the national competitor price.  As a means of keeping our prices down we continue to use a one price system ie: every type of tree seedling we carry we market for one uniform price despite the fact that some seedlings cost us two to three times more to produce than others. 
Innovations Taking Grip HELP’s innovations and new best field practices are being picked up by more and more tree customers. Am happy to say that the ten inch tooth pick method used to pull trees in their precise location under the plastic mulch film has been successfully adopted by hundreds of customers.   The system of manually healing trees after planting to create a water well is likewise gaining big momentum.   For those laying plastic mulch film….our newest innovation was tested with extreme results compared to the old system of laying plastic.  The new system involves a) planting the seedling   b) heeling the seedling. c) take a shallow spadeful of extra dirt away from the base of the tree (about four inches away) d) lay the plastic   e) lay a 5 lb stone on the plastic pulling it down in a funnel shape into your spade hollow.  f) prick the plastic at the bottom of the funnel with a screwdriver.  We photo documented the results. Trees watered only once per month with the depressions/stone/funnels experienced more than double growth rate, zero mortalities and zero yellowing from drought stress compared to trees in the same row without the depressions/stone/funnels.  Ask for our photo evidence if you need convincing! 
Pre-positioning Tree Stocks We at HELP continue to stay ‘a year ahead’ in more tree varieties than ever:   We have fall and 2023 tree stocks in place for all major poplar varieties, for all three evergreen varieties, for velosa and common lilac, for green ash, Manitoba maple and American Elm.  Customers no longer have to wait for the few varieties of our trees that are produced in greenhouse to harden off.  This means that all of the new year’s inventory will have been hardened off and have been living outdoors since the year prior. So, they will be ‘tough as nails’.  Am happy to say we have tree stocks sufficiently high enough to market two year olds of many varieties for the price of one year olds.  The older the seedlings are in our system the tougher they are in the field.  The average height of seedlings is far greater than normal with poplar varieties averaging 18 inch stem size.   This is the largest average size poplars we have sold in our twenty three year shelterbelt history.
Pre-positioning Supplies Because of supply chain challenges in 2020 and 2021 and dramatic increases in fuel and plastics, we at HELP have been pre-positioning a year’s supply in advance at HELP of plastic mulch film, and drip irrigation supplies.  This necessitates a big financial roll out by HELP in the short term but saves HELP and its customers money by keeping pricing at current levels going into 2023. Not stressing about supply chain issues is well worth the bit of extra financing HELP is enduring. Thank you to all landowners, municipalities, government departments, parks and schools across the prairies who continue to purchase trees, plastic mulch, irrigation supply and planting services through HELP International’s Shelterbelt Program”.    
Rodney Sidloski, CEO and Founder HELP International & Green Research & Discovery Corp  

New Tick Reporting System

Surveillance using eTick Researchers at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Que., created the eTick system. This online tool provides members of the public with timely information about the tick species that bit them and the risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases. The eTick system will be available to Saskatchewan residents as of April 1, 2020.   The online passive surveillance program works as follows:   As of April 1 2020, take a photo of the tick that bit you or your pet and submit these digital images using the online eTick system   Please keep your tick in case we ask you to submit it by mail. You can euthanize the tick by placing it in the freezer for 24 hours.As part of the submission process, give relevant information such as where in Saskatchewan you encountered the tick.Once USask researchers receive your online submission, a team member will let you know the tick species that bit you.For purpose of quality control or if the tick species is one of medical concern (e.g. blacklegged tick), we will ask you to submit the tick by mail so we can confirm its species identity