The Kansas Forest Service Conservation Tree Planting Program offers tree and shrub seedlings for use in conservation plantings including wildlife habitats, windbreaks, wood lots, timber plantations or educational and riparian plantings. Seedlings are one to two years old and vary from 8 to 36 inches tall.
Bare root and container-grown seedlings are available. Bare root seedlings should be planted as soon as possible though they can be stored for a couple of days in the shipping box if kept in a cool, shaded location. To store longer than this, keep the sealed box at 33 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Another option is to “heel in” the seedlings. Heeling in seedlings requires digging a V-shaped trench. Remove the seedlings from the packaging and cover the roots with soil in the trench. Pack firmly and water thoroughly. Seedlings should be planted in their permanent location before they begin growing. Drying out is a common cause of planting failure for seedlings. Protect the seedlings by wrapping them in wet burlap and/or keeping the roots covered in moist medium until planting.
Container-grown seedlings should also be planted as soon as possible for the greatest chance of success. If the planting is going to be delayed proper care must be given to ensure survival. Remove the plants from the cardboard shipping box and store them upright in light shade. Protect the seedlings from wind and saturate with water three times per week.
The Kansas Forest Service offers instructions for planting and care of tree and shrub seedlings (Tips on Planting Trees and Shrubs). Orders are accepted now through May 1st, but order early to ensure availability. Shipments begin mid-March. Orders may be picked up as well. To place an order call 1-888-740-8733 or visit kansasforests.org.