State Forest Nursery

The State Forest Nursery provides affordable, high-quality native plant material for use in timber production, wildlife habitat restoration, erosion control, and other conservation-related endeavors, to landowners in Iowa and other states.  Located on 98 acres just south of Highway 30 in Ames, the nursery was established by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s and has operated continuously ever since.  Currently, the nursery sells approximately 1 million seedlings per year, and 3-5 million seedlings are grown on-site at any given time. 

Why Plant Trees?

Trees provide an incredible array of benefits, including: food and habitat for wildlife and pollinators; reduced soil erosion along streambanks and waterways; innumerable products, such as lumber, furniture, fruit, and Christmas trees, just to name a few; reduced heating and cooling costs for homes and other buildings; cleaner water through removal of chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorous; cooler temperatures, cleaner air, and reduced noise pollution in towns and cities, and; aesthetic and other benefits that have been shown to improve mood, increase focus and learning, and foster general health and well-being for people.

Why Plant Native Trees?

No matter where you live, it’s always best to plant trees grown from locally-adapted seed.  The further a tree is planted from its seed source, the greater its risk of suffering from disease or early mortality, even if the seed source and planting site both fall within the native range of the species.  The habitat provided by native tree species is also far superior to that of non-native species, as wildlife and pollinators are adapted to trees that are native to where they live.  Iowa has the enviable distinction of possessing the soil and climate ideal for producing some of the finest trees in the world, and the State Forest Nursery strives to grow and distribute the best stock possible.  Whatever your tree-planting needs, the State Forest Nursery is here to help you achieve your goals!

Orders are taken September 1st – May 31st.  Fall orders are processed beginning the last week in October and spring orders are typically processed starting April 1st, weather-permitting.  Sizes range from 11-30”, depending on species, and two size categories are available for most species. 
How to Place an Order
Ordering Online:
Ordering online is easier than ever with the nursery’s new online order system. Simply click on the following link to set up an account, and follow the instructions given. After you place your order, you will receive invoices and updates via email.

Order Seedlings Online

  1. Log in if you have an account. If you do not have an account, create one by selecting Create Account at the top of the home page, click Create Account, and type in your information.
  2. Once you’re logged in or your account has been created, browse and select seedlings you'd like to order. Choose a size and quantity for each species of tree seedling and click Add to Cart.
  3. Once you've added all the seedlings for your order to the shopping cart, click Proceed to Checkout.
  4. If your order is shipping to your billing address, click on the box labeled Same as Billing.
    • If order is shipping to a location other than your billing address, please enter that address. If you are picking the order up at the Nursery in Ames, type in the provided State Forest Nursery address (2404 S Duff Ave, Ames IA 50010).**
  5. Select a delivery option - Pickup OR Ship via SpeeDee Delivery. Some locations may only be available by Fed Ex.
  6. Enter credit card info for payment on our secure site.
  7. Select the county where you will plant from the drop down list.
  8. Select the week you'd like to pick up OR have your order shipped. Please only fill in one box for the shipping or pick-up method you've chosen.
  9. Click the Check Out box on the right to place your order.

**For orders being picked up at the Nursery: You must call us at least 48 business hours prior to arrival to schedule a pick up date and time

Order Online

Order Seedlings Online

Native Iowa hardwoods, small trees and shrubs, evergreens and specialty packets.

Iowa State Forest Nursery
1-800-865-2477 or 515-233-1161

  Seedling Pick-up Map

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.