There is a saying that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago and the second best time is as soon as possible. If you have been thinking about a tree planting project, consider using seedlings from one of Kentucky’s state-run tree seedling nurseries. The Kentucky Division of Forestry (http://forestry.ky.gov) in addition to providing foresters to help woodland owners manage their wooded property, fighting wildfires, and inspecting timber harvest operations also maintains two tree seedling nurseries in Kentucky: one in the east (Morgan County) and one in the west (Marshall County).
These professional state-run tree nurseries grow their tree seedlings by planting seeds that have been regionally collected and planted in seedling beds which are maintained for one to three years depending on the species. These seedlings are then gently lifted out of the ground during the winter and made available to Kentucky landowners from January to April. These high quality native tree species are adapted to our growing conditions and when properly planted and cared for are highly likely to grow into mature trees.
In total, the Kentucky Division of Forestry grows 51 different varieties of trees. The wide selection of tree seedlings includes: conifers, fruit producers (including pawpaws), trees in the legume family, nut producers, and seed producers. One-year-old seedlings can be purchased in bundles of 10 for $35, 5 bundles of 10 for $55, or bundles of 100 for $70. In addition, a number of the 2 and 3 year old tree seedlings are available for a small price increase. These tree seedling bundles are shipped free within the state of Kentucky and all prices include sales tax. Availability of tree seedlings is on a first-come, first-served basis and is updated frequently so check back if your preferred seedlings are not available at the moment. To learn more about the seedlings and to order please visit http://forestry.ky.gov/statenurseriesandtreeseedlings.
Submitted by William M. Fountain, PhD, Extension Professor in Arboriculture, University of Kentucky