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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Forestry > Tree Seedling Nurseries > General Information General Information

Types of trees available: Conservation plants from state nurseries can be conveniently divided into three categories:

  1. pine (conifer) and hardwood seedlings for restoration and erosion control; will eventually grow into full size trees. (oak, tulip tree, walnut, white pine, ash, etc.)
  2. shrub seedlings for food and cover plantings for developing and improving wildlife habitat; will grow only to bush or small tree size. (shrub dogwood, hawthorne, lespedeza, etc.)
  3. windbreak conifers (white pine, red pine, northern white cedar and Norway spruce)

Size of trees available: Conifer seedlings are usually 4 to 14 inches tall, depending on growing conditions, and are baled or bundled in roll paper or bags. One to three bales of 100 conifer seedlings each will usually fit into the trunk of a normal sized car. The hardwood and wildlife shrub seedlings can range from 4 to 24 inches in height depending on species and growing conditions. Bundles of several hundred can be hauled in an automobile. Orders of several thousand require a truck; check with the nursery if a question arises about what vehicle may be required to haul trees.

Prices: The price of trees from state nurseries is kept low to encourage conservation plantings. Small seedlings shipped in bales of several hundred are easy to transport and simple to plant, keeping the process as economical as possible for the landowner.

State nurseries accept orders for trees until supplies are exhausted. Some species may be available throughout the ordering and planting period, but some species sell out early. If you desire a certain species, order early. The Nurseries reserve the right to substitute species if not instructed otherwise on the order form.

The sooner trees are planted, the better the chances of survival. Some losses always occur, but losses may be kept low by planting quickly. Tree planting instructions are included in each tree shipment.

Conservation seedlings are produced from seed collected in the wild and are not suited for shade and ornamental use. It is disappointing to plant a tree or shrub seedling for ornamental purposes, wait several years, and then find it does not produce the expected flowering or does not have the proper form. Help avoid such instances by ordering and using conservation seedlings only for conservation uses such as reforestation, erosion control, field windbreaks and wildlife habitat improvement.

It is inadvisable to use seedlings from state nurseries for Christmas tree plantings. The Christmas tree industry has developed special strains and varieties especially suited for Christmas tree production and many private nurseries supply such seedlings. State nurseries are oriented more toward conservation seedlings, and recommend obtaining Christmas tree seedlings from nurseries specializing in that product.

Help in deciding which species to plant may be obtained from the state district forester for your county. Further information on district foresters may be obtained by calling 317-232-4105.

Tree planting and the production of conservation tree seedlings is one of Indiana's oldest and brightest resource conservation programs. Such plantings help assure continued availability of wood products, protection of our state's soil and water, cover and food for our wildlife species, and other valued conservation benefits. Thanks for your order.