Spring is evident as buds grow on trees, but their life-cycle requires year-round care as explained by Pratt Tree Farm's Sandy Short.

Some might take for granted that when spring comes, buds pop out on trees, leaves follow and flowers bloom, but not Sandy Short of Pratt Tree Farm.
"Just like humans who need a haircut, proper nutrition, vitamins and minerals, and especially water, trees need a lot of care to grow and look beautiful. It doesn't just happen," said Short, who has bachelors and masters degrees in biology from Pittsburg State University.
Short, along with her husband, Larry Short, have owned and operated Pratt Tree Farm Nursery and Landscaping southeast of Pratt, for more than 20 years. The services they offer range widely from tree planting, growing and trimming, to virtual land scape planning, stump grinding and tree removal, and building water features and ponds.
"We are like farmers, but instead of crops we raise trees and help others manage those types of things from all aspects of need," Short said. "It helps to have the right equipment to get the job done right, and we can do a lot."
While Sandy handles a lot of the landscape planning, designing and tree care, Larry is kept busy year-round operating the large tree spade and a variety of other equipment. He is also a licensed electrician, so even in bad weather, his schedule stays busy.
"Like farmers, we do have to work around things like bad weather when it comes to moving trees or digging ponds," Sandy said. "But somehow we find a way to get it all done."
Their current job of moving spaded cedar trees from the new college/city track and field site east of Green Sports Complex, getting ready for dirt work to begin in that area, has been complicated by recent rains and forecasted coming rain.
"We've had some trouble getting in and out there, but we always need rain so we don't complain," Short said.
The Shorts are using a large spade to scoop out the trees, one-by-one, and truck them over to a tree-row enhancement the city of Pratt has hired them to put in north of Southwest Truck Parts salvage graveyard. The cedar trees removed from the sports complex area are useful as a living visual barrier on the north side of town.
"We aren't wasting a trip," Short said. "We spade the tree out, bring it over here to fill a previously dug hole, plant the tree, scoop another hole and take that dirt over to fill where the tree came out."
The Shorts are used to working efficiently and effectively as their services are sought after in an area much larger than Pratt County.
"People don't always see our work because most of it takes place in backyards or out-of-the-way places, but we have been subcontracted out for some significant jobs in Greensburg, Coldwater, Medicine Lodge, Kingman, and places like that," Short said.
Locally, the Pratt Tree Farm keeps more than 100 trees for landscape needs on their property at all times. They no longer maintain a greenhouse, finding it more cost-efficient to order what they need in order to meet individual customers requests better.
Taking care of the trees is a full-time plus job for Sandy, who also has experience in school administration and teaching. With the arrival of spring, she enjoys checking daily to see the new buds and making sure all are watered and cared for sufficiently.
"We're here because we care about the life cycle of landscapes and trees we work with," she said. "These are living things, and taking care of them benefits us all, even civically, because when the trees look good, people are happy."