N.C. Forest Service accepting orders for seedlings

RALEIGH — The annual window of opportunity for ordering seedlings from the N.C. Forest Service Nursery Program is open.

“The Forest Service produces about 20 million quality seedlings for 54 species of both conifer and hardwoods each year at its nurseries, using solid nursery research and experience,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The genetically superior Loblolly pine seedlings, for instance, are grown from seeds produced by orchard trees that are proven to give landowners increased growth and are more disease-resistant.”

The Forest Service is selling hardwoods in quantities as low as 10 and conifers in quantities as low as 50. For customers wishing to purchase larger orders, the nursery also sells tree seedlings by the hundreds and thousands. The nurseries also have a variety of Fraser products available from 1-year-old plugs ready to go into the field.

“These Fraser firs come from our best family genetics, which are selected based on color, form, fullness and USDA grade,” said Greg Pate, state forester. “They are grown in greenhouses using deep well water, eliminating the chance of Phytophthera sp. fungus. Demand for these seedlings is up, so order early.”

The Forest Service’s nurseries in Goldsboro and Crossnore have a large catalog of tree seedlings. Landowners can find information about the types of tree species, quantities and costs on the inside page of the catalog. Each tree description includes information about ideal planting locations and whether a species is typically used for the benefit of wildlife, restoring habitats or as marketable timber.

Catalogs are available at local Forest Service offices, which are located in all 100 North Carolina counties. The catalog is also available online at http://ncforestservice.gov. Click on the “Tree Seedlings & Nursery Program” link.

Seedlings can be ordered online, by mail or by phone at 1-888-NCTREES (1-888-628-7337) using a Visa or MasterCard. To order by mail, complete an order form and send it to Seedling Coordinator, 762 Claridge Nursery Road, Goldsboro, NC 27530.

Distribution of seedlings begins in the fall, depending on weather conditions. Seedling orders are shipped to one of 13 locations statewide for free or via UPS for a charge. People interested in information about planting trees may contact a local county ranger, who can be found on the contact page of the Forest Service website.