This fall, the Conservation Tree Planting Program of the Kansas Forest Service is offering containerized seedling trees for sale through Oct. 14. Fall is a great time to plant seedlings, as it allows the trees to get established before winter. Seedlings will then have the advantage of growing early during optimum growing conditions in the spring.
The conservation team is working to provide a greater variety of seedlings that are adapted to Kansas conditions. The cost is $50 for 25 seedlings, plus shipping and sales tax. Customers are also welcome to pick up the seedlings at the KFS Manhattan office at 2610 Claflin Road. Seedlings must be used for conservation purposes such as windbreaks, wildlife habitats, riparian plantings, wood lots, and Christmas trees.
It’s always best to plant seedlings as soon as they are received, but with proper care, they can be held for several weeks. The seedlings can be stored upright in light shade protected from the wind, with the root plug saturated with water three times a week. Do not store the seedlings on the ground as the roots will quickly grow into the soil.
After seedlings have been planted, water them in. The amount and frequency of watering will vary depending on the soil type, wind velocity, and temperature. Irrigate by saturating the root zone, then letting it partially dry out as this will promote soil aeration and root growth. Seedlings will need watering assistance for up to three years. After three years, seedlings should be adapted to your soil and self-sustaining.
If a fall planting isn’t on your mind, or you aren’t prepared yet, spring planting is on the horizon, and now is a good time for site preparation. Site preparation is critical to the survival of tree and shrub seedlings. Any other vegetation is competition for moisture and nutrients from the seedling. The preparation done before a planting and care after a planting will help to ensure successful establishment of seedlings.
Spring conservation tree sales will open on Dec. 5, 2016 and run through May 1, 2017. To order online, visit the Kansas Forest Service website: www.Kansasforests.org and click on “Conservation Trees.” For questions, or to order by phone, call 1-888-740-8733.