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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 – May. Fall orders are typically distributed during the first three weeks of November and spring orders are typically distributed beginning in April, weather-permitting. 

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 Order Seedlings online button below 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 to your account or register to create an account if one does not already exist.
  2. Use the seedling categories at the top of the page or pictures on the home screen to navigate through the seedlings available to purchase.
  3. Add items to your cart by choosing the size you want (if applicable), typing in the quantity desired (multiples of 25), then clicking "Add to Cart."
  4. When checking out, read through the Terms & Conditions, then click "I Agree" to continue to the checkout page.
  5. Enter your billing and shipping information and select to have your order shipped or picked up at the Nursery.
    • Note: If you are out of Spee Dee's shipping zone, please select the correct shipping option that appears. You may need to click Refresh Rates after entering your shipping information to get updated rates.
  6. Enter your credit card information into our secure site.
  7. If planting the seedlings in Iowa, select the city/town you will plant the seedlings.
  8. Select the week to have your order shipped or picked up.
    • Pickup dates are Thursday or Friday of the week selected.
    • Any spring items in your cart must have a spring shipping or pickup date.
  9. Once all information is entered and correct, click "Check out."
  10. An order confirmation will be sent to the email address provided during checkout.



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

Ensure Successful Tree Planting:

To ensure 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.