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New legislation makes nursery seedling sales more flexible

  • 4/18/2017 12:12:00 PM
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Landowners and homeowners can now order smaller quantities of high-quality native tree and shrub species from the State Forest Nursery. Beginning immediately, the nursery is accepting minimum orders of 100 seedlings of one species.

Iowa lawmakers recently adjusted rules governing the State Forest Nursery, allowing them to establish minimum orders.

“When we were going through the rule-making process last fall allowing the nursery to increase prices, it was clear our constituents supported the nursery and the price increase, but also wanted the ability to purchase smaller quantities of seedlings,” says Paul Tauke, DNR state forester. “Thanks to the recent legislation, we are now able to do that for our customers.”

Tauke says once they make adjustments to their current ordering system, they hope to lower the minimum order quantity even further.

Bare-root seedlings can be purchased for 50 to 90 cents per seedling plus tax, shipping and handling, depending upon species and size. 

For many years, minimum orders for nursery stock were set at 500 seedlings, limiting the nursery’s customer base. Smaller minimum orders will make nursery stock an option for a wide range of landowners, including small acreages and standard backyards.

The State Forest Nursery is bound by Iowa Code to be self-sustaining, covering all expenses related to growing the plants.

“The recent ability to establish minimum ordering quantities and a range of prices for our plant material allows us to better meet this requirement,” says Tauke.

In addition to the ability to sell smaller quantities and adjust pricing, the State Forest Nursery can now sell seedlings to other states and to private nurseries for resale.

For seedling choices, including photos and descriptions, visit and click on “Seedling Catalog.” For more information about tree and shrub seedlings or to place an order, contact the Iowa DNR State Forest Nursery at 1-800-865-2477.