Seed catalogs have begun appearing in mailboxes, providing hours of recreational reading for chilly winter days. If your planting project extends beyond flowers and vegetables, look at trees and shrubs included in the 2010 seedling catalog from Licking’s George O. White Forest Nursery.
The Missouri Department of Conservation nursery in Texas County produces millions of seedlings each year to make wildlife habitat improvement affordable for Missourians. The nursery begins taking orders in November. However, seedlings ranging from black walnut trees and white pine to spicebush and blackberry remain available for immediate shipping, according to nursery supervisor Greg Hoss.
“We still have a surprising variety of plants on hand this year,” said Hoss. “Late winter is a good time to plant, so right now anyone who loves wildlife and has a shovel can get in the act.”
Hoss said hardwood seedlings available include regular and certified black walnut trees. Both certified and regular seedlings are 12 to 30 inches tall. The certified seedlings are grown from seeds certified by the Missouri Seed Certification Board as coming from plantations where all trees show outstanding vigor, form and rapid growth. The extra-large trees are one year old and approximately 3 feet tall.
Other hardwood seedlings still in stock at the state forest nursery include pecan, sycamore, bur oak, white oak, bald cypress, river birch, chinquapin oak, swamp white oak and pin oak. Evergreens available include shortleaf, loblolly, red and white pines.
A few of the seedlings available this year are bottomland hardwood species that do best in the southern third of the state. These include overcup oak, nuttall oak, willow oak and cherrybark oak and water tupelo.
The nursery also has shrubs and low-growing trees that provide food and shelter for wildlife, from songbirds and box turtles to rabbits and deer. Buttonbush, deciduous holly, redbud, blackberry, wild plum, aromatic sumac, gray dogwood, spicebush, elderberry and black chokecherry still are in stock.
The forest nursery offers a “Quail Conservation Bundle” with 15 each of five quail food and cover plants for $30. Plants used for this bundle depend on availability, but typically include aromatic sumac, blackberry, wild plum, false indigo and rough-leaf dogwood.
Trees and shrub seedlings come in bundles of 25. Most cost $8 per bundle, but some cost as little as $4, and others are $16. Holders of Missouri Conservation Heritage Cards can receive a 15-percent discount for up to $20 off their purchases. Heritage cards are available for $2 wherever hunting and fishing permits are sold.
The state forest nursery’s online catalog at www.mdc.mo.gov/7294 includes an order form, prices and details about the soil, sun and moisture requirements for all the plants. It also has color photographs of many of the plants offered. Printed copies of the catalog are available at regional conservation department offices and nature centers statewide or on request from George O. White Nursery, P.O. Box 119, Licking, Mo. 65542.