AMES - Landowners who enrolled in federal, state, or other cost share conservation programs should consider ordering tree seedlings soon since most nurseries will begin shipping once the ground has thawed.
One large conservation program this year was the conservation reserve program (CRP) general sign up. In Iowa, 128,243 acres were accepted into the program of which, 1,134 acres will include trees.
Now is also a good time to evaluate the health of trees in existing tree planting and/or woods with incoming threats, like emerald ash borer and gypsy moth.
"A healthy woodlot is your best defense to resisting attacks from the many threats facing our trees," said Aaron Lumley, private lands and nursery supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "Removing trees that are not healthy and increasing diversity by planting different tree species is something that should be considered."
The Iowa State Forest Nursery has many tree seedlings for spring tree planting orders. Effective February 1, for the first time, the state forest nursery will begin accepting orders for conservation seedlings from people out of state.
Selling out of state is a last resort to allow the nursery to keep providing seedlings for the cost share programs that require large volumes of bare root trees.
"The nursery is supported by sales and as the overall nursery sales have dropped, the budget has been reduced to a point where we are running on a shoe string," Lumley said. "Iowans always get first pick."
Out-of-state sales will be accepted beginning February 1 each year. The Iowa State Forest Nursery seedlings order information can be found at www.iowatreeplanting.com or by calling 1-800-865-2477.