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Reserve native trees now for spring planting

You can start planning now for spring planting by ordering native tree and shrub seedlings for as little as 22 cents each from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Here’s how you can tap this resource or find more resources in your state.

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, blackberry, elderberry and others. The online Seedling Order Form Catalogue displays a full listing and order form. Some species are already sold out.

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.

Residents of other states can check with their conservation department for similar offers or find resources by state at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Associations. MDC will ship out-of-state orders for an additional fee.

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 754 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 22 cents to 90 cents per seedling depending on the variety and quantity. Orders can be placed until April 15 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 2021. Customers with a Heritage Card receive a 15-percent discount, or up to $20 off.

For more information and to download the Seedling Order Form catalogue, visit MDC or call 573-674-3229.

Photo: Shortleaf pine / Missouri Department of Conservation

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