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State Forest Nursery

Iowa’s State Forest Nursery provides quality native plant materials, at an affordable cost, to landowners for timber production, wildlife habitat, erosion control and beautification. By providing a reliable source of native stock in large quantities, the State Forest Nursery makes it possible for more than a million trees and shrubs to be planted each year. 

Nursery production is about 1 to 2 million plants per year. Because some species grow for three years before they are lifted for sale, 3-5 million seedlings are growing at any given time.

The nursery is located on 98 acres just south of Ames and was established during the Civilian Conservation Corps days of the 1930s. Thanks to our customers, 2016 marks 80 years producing seedlings.

The State Forest Nursery is bound by Iowa Code to be self-sustaining. Receipts from sale of plant materials are used to cover cost of operations.

Buying Trees

While the majority the seedlings are sold to farmers and forestry consultants in bulk orders, options are available for acreage owners and even residential homeowners.

Orders are taken between Aug 1 and May 31, while supplies last. Fall shipments begin the last week of October and spring shipments start April 1. Depending on the species, sizes of seedlings range from 8 to 24 inches.

Minimum order options include:

  • Songbird packet (20 plants)
  • Wildlife, pollinator and customizable packets (200 plants each)
  • Monthly special packet (200+ plants in each)
  • 500 plants (100 per species)
  • 100 of one species (for previous year’s bulk buyers)

Descriptions and pictures of nursery stock are available in the Seedling Catalog

How to Place an Order

Ordering off-line:
Download the current Seedling Catalog and Seedling Order Form or request paper copies by calling the State Forest Nursery. 

Mail or Fax:  
Complete the order form and Mail it to:  
Iowa State Forest Nursery
2404 S Duff Ave.
Ames, Iowa  50010
or Fax your order form to:  515-233-1131

Please do not send payment with your order. 
Invoices will be mailed at a later date.

Use your completed order form to place an order by phone. Speak to a nursery representative between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday at 1-800-865-2477.

Ordering Online:
Ordering online requires setting up an A&A account with the State of Iowa. First-time buyers may find it easier to use one of the above methods of ordering. Otherwise, follow the instructions for setting up an account or use your existing account to place an order. The online ordering system provides real time updates of inventory.

Order Seedlings Now

State Forest Nursery
Insure Successful Tree Planting:

To insure a successful tree planting, check out the planting layouts, brochures and other information below:

Planting Layouts:

Seed Collection
Native trees are key to healthy woodlands. To improve quality, the nursery continues to identify locations for seed collection from native Iowa forests and wildlife areas, and seed is purchased from Iowa collectors each year. For more information contact the State Forest Nursery.