AMES — As clean-up efforts are well underway and even nearing completion in some areas following the derecho that tore through Iowa in early August, the DNR State Forest Nursery is working with customers to select the proper trees to replant in areas completely leveled by the storm.
The Iowa DNR State Forest Nursery grows approximately 40 different species of native Iowa tree and shrub seedlings that are available to the general public for purchase for as little as $0.80 to $1.00 each depending on the size and species. Orders must be placed in increments of 25, with a minimum order requirement of 25 trees per species.
There are many things to consider when choosing the right trees for your property like the site conditions and what benefits you are hoping to achieve by planting trees. Trees provide many benefits including food and habitat for wildlife and pollinators, reduce soil erosion, reduce heating and cooling costs, cleaner water through removal of chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorus, cleaner air, reduce noise pollution, as well as aesthetic and health benefits. DNR District Foresters are a great resource to help landowners determine the best trees and shrubs for areas. Contact information can be found by visiting: https://www.iowadnr.gov/Conservation/Forestry/Forestry-Landowner-Assistance
To begin placing your order with the DNR State Forest Nursery, visit: www.nursery.iowadnr.gov. There you will find all of the current inventory at the nursery, as well as descriptions of each plant and their desired conditions. Orders are available for delivery or pickup during the month of November for fall planting or April-May for spring planting.
Each seedling order will come with care and planting instructions to help make your tree planting project successful.
The seedlings will come bare root and will need to be planted as soon as you receive them.
Remove all grass and weeds in a 3-5’ zone around the seedlings this will reduce competition for water and nutrients that the seedlings need to survive.
Keep all unplanted seedlings in a cool dark environment to prevent them from drying out before planting.
About an hour before you plant, place the seedlings in a bucket of water just covering the roots until they are planted.
Plant the seedlings with the root collar at ground level and the main root straight down.
Avoid planting the seedlings with U-shaped or sharply bent root systems.
After planting, protect the seedlings from animal damage, control the grass and weeds around the trees, and the seedlings should receive about an inch of water per week.
To learn more about proper tree planting, the DNR has partnered with Iowa State University’s Extension to produce the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7auuvEmQFdM.