Start planning now for spring planting by ordering native tree seedlings for as little as 34 cents each from Missouri Department of Conservation’s popular annual sale. The sale starts September 1st and many plants sell out quickly. Here’s how you can tap this resource.
The MDC George O. White State Nursery grows three-million tree seedlings each year and sells one-year-old, bare-root seedlings with sizes varying by species. Tree and shrub seedling varieties include pine, pecan, oak, dogwood, tulip poplar, cottonwood, sweet gum, cypress, birch, hickory, willow, persimmon, pawpaw, deciduous holly, redbud, wild plum, ninebark, witch hazel, serviceberry, mulberry, elderberry and others.
The online Seedling Order Form Catalog displays a full listing and order form.
MDC recommends that even if a species is listed as sold out, customers can still place an order for those seedlings because other orders may get cancelled, freeing up inventory. Customers won’t be charged for seedlings unless they are available to ship.
Native trees, shrubs, and woody vines can help improve wildlife habitat, soil and water conservation while also improving the appearance and value of property. Native plants can also be used for reforestation, windbreaks, erosion control, wildlife food and cover.
The Missouri nursery was started in the 1930s by the United States Forest Service to grow shortleaf pine for the state’s forest restoration work. A young USFS forester named George O. White found the current location in 1934. Over the next several years, the nursery was constructed and operated with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Work Projects Administration and other local labor. The nursery has grown from its original 40 acres to 750 acres with 50 acres being used for the tree nursery. More than 60 species of trees and shrubs are grown and distributed. Since 1938, the nursery has distributed more than 520-million seedlings.
Seedlings are available in bundles of 10 or 25 per species. Prices range from 34 cents to $1 per seedling depending on the variety and quantity. There is a shipping fee and a $9 handling charge for each order. Orders can be placed until April 15, 2024 and will be shipped or can be picked up at the State Nursery near Licking, MO (four hours from the Kansas City metro) from February through May 2024. Customers with a Heritage Card receive a 15-percent discount for up to $20 off.
For more information and to place orders, visit mdc.mo.gov/trees-plants/tree-seedlings.