Seedlings

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Pennsylvania Game Commission have kicked off annual spring seedling sales.

Each year, the DEC’s Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery offers for sale dozens of low-cost, New York-grown tree and shrub species to help implement conservation plantings across the state. The sale goes on through May 12.

“From landowners hoping to create winter windbreaks and shady summer spots, to those who want to create a haven for wildlife, the nursery offers something for everyone’s planting goal,” says DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and are a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Trees also lower heating and cooling costs, provide food and shelter for native wildlife, improve water quality by filtering runoff, prevent erosion, and increase overall health and well-being.

The tree nursery has more than 50 conifer and hardwood species available in bundles of 25 or more, plus several mixed species packets for those looking for a variety.

For more information, including how to order, visit the Spring Seedling Sale webpage on DEC’s website. Some species sell out early; DEC encourages the public to place orders by phone for the most up-to-date availability information.

Applications are also being accepted for the tree nursery’s School Seedling Program. Through March 31, schools and youth education organizations across New York may apply to receive up to 50 free tree or shrub seedlings to plant with students.

Visit DEC’s website for more information or to apply online. For assistance or questions, contact the Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery at nysnursery@dec.ny.gov or (518) 581-1439.

PENNSYLVANIA SEEDLINGS SALE

After it was canceled because of the growing coronavirus pandemic last year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s annual sale of tree and shrub seedlings is back on for 2021.

Seedlings that would have been dug up and shipped from the commission’s Howard Nursery in Centre County last spring were left to grow another year.

In some cases, that means the nursery will be offering larger, more-resilient seedlings in this year’s sale with a wide variety of seedlings available — 20 species in all.

The 2021 seedling order form is available online.

Among the offerings are red mulberry, North America’s only native mulberry tree, which grows to mature heights between 30 and 50 feet; eastern red cedar, which also is known as juniper and produces a berry-like cone used by many birds; and northern bayberry, a hardy shrub that can reach 15-foot heights and is an important winter food source for grouse and other birds.

There are a variety of oaks, pines, spruces and other deciduous and evergreen trees, and a host of shrubs also available for sale, some of them in impressive numbers. For example, the nursery presently has a dozen 4-foot-wide, 440-foot-long beds of red oak seedlings — a linear mile of red oak — awaiting to be sold, shipped and transplanted, said Brian Stone, manager at Howard Nursery.

The nursery grows tree and shrub seedlings for use on state game lands and Hunter Access properties, as well as for the Seedlings for Schools program and the commission’s conservation partners.

Any remaining surplus is available to Pennsylvania residents for purchase. Seedlings are sold in units of 25.

Most orders of 12 or more units qualify for applicable discounted pricing. With the discount, prices are as low as $5.50 per unit. Regular price ranges from $7.50 to $9.50, depending upon the seedling species.

In the 2021 sale, red mulberry is the only seedling for which a discount isn’t offered because it’s available in limited numbers only.

Stone said those interested in placing an order should call Howard Nursery at (814) 355-4434 once the sale begins. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Orders can be placed by FAX as well at (814) 355-8094.

The order form is available at the Pennsylvania Game Commission website.

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