DES MOINES – The Iowa DNR State Forest Nursery’s latest seedling packet, aptly called April Showers Bring May Flowers, is a mix of three water-loving tree species and two flowering species.
“This packet consists of three important tree species known for their ability to slow flooding and filter contaminants from the water,” says State Forester Paul Tauke. “And the other two species have some of the showiest early spring flowers.”
New this month, the State Forest Nursery will select four of the species in the April Showers packet and allow the purchaser to choose the fifth species from three flowering species. Cost for the 250 bare-root seedlings is $110 plus tax, shipping and handling, the same price as a regular 200-seedling packet.
The April Showers packet includes 50 each of the following:
- Sycamore This tree grows incredibly fast, straight and tall, and has attractive white bark in upper branches. The sycamore is native to much of southern Iowa and extends into northern Iowa along some river valleys. One sycamore will intercept 381,010 gallons of rainwater over its lifespan.
- River birch Although most common in eastern Iowa, river birch will grow almost anywhere soils are moist, and often grows in clumps. This tree grows fast and has interesting bark that peels as it ages, exposing reddish brown inner bark. One river birch can intercept 248,000 gallons of water in the course of its lifetime.
- Silver maple The silver maple is one of Iowa’s most widespread and abundant trees, it grows well on all floodplains and can produce valuable lumber. By holding rain on leaves, branches and bark, one silver maple will intercept 440,376 gallons of rainwater over its lifespan. It is also one of the most underrated trees for wildlife, providing seeds for evening grosbeaks, finches, wild turkeys, wood ducks and other game birds along with small mammals such as squirrels and chipmunks.
- Arrowwood Viburnum This shrub is sought after for its spring flowers, beautiful fall color, and berries which are valued by songbirds. It is also a nectar source and larval host for butterflies and other pollinators.
Purchasers may choose from one of the following for the fifth species in the packet:
- Redbud This small tree produces showy lavender-pink spring flowers.
- Serviceberry White flowers in the early spring and edible red and purple June berries.
- Common Lilac Known for its fragrant purple May flowers.
The April Showers packet order form can be found online at www.iowadnr.gov/nursery or orders can be placed by calling the State Forest Nursery at 1-800-865-2477 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and mention the “April Showers packet.” Using the order form is the fastest and easiest method for ordering the packet, as phone lines can get very busy.
Each month, the State Forest Nursery creates a different specialty packet to offer a unique mix of tree and shrub species for that month only. This month’s specialty packet is only available through April 30, 2016.
Anyone can purchase seedlings from the Iowa State Forest Nursery for CRP projects, to increase wildlife habitat, pollinator potential or diversify backyard woodlands. More than 40 species are available from the nursery. Seedling choices, including photos and descriptions, can be seen in the seedling catalog at www.iowadnr.gov/seedlingcatalog.
For more information about this monthly special or other tree and shrub seedlings, contact the Iowa DNR State Forest Nursery at 1-800-865-2477.