It’s that time of year again, when the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District offers bare root tree and shrub seedlings at very affordable prices: most are $1 each, minimum quantity of 10 per variety. Evergreens are three years old, 10 – 18 inches tall; deciduous tree and shrub seedlings are 1-2 years old, 10” – 24” tall. Most are available in minimum single-species groups of 10, for the purpose of land conservation.

For optimal success, be sure to select plants that are well-suited to your land. The most adaptable trees on this list include Black Tupelo “Gum Tree”, Sawtooth Oak, and River Birch. Black Tupelo has lovely red fall foliage, small flowers which are attractive to bees, and ½” fruits which birds enjoy.

These seedlings are available to homeowners for use on their own property, not to be re-sold. Tree and shrub landscaping is more supportive of our ecosystem than lawns. Areas of your yard with trees and shrubs will attract more birds and other wildlife, providing shelter and sometimes food.

Shrubs offered this year include Butterfly Bush, Rose of Sharon, purple Lilac, Ninebark, Arrowwood Viburnum, Buttonbush, Hazlenut, Witch Hazel, and Elderberry. The colors produced by these plants may be a surprise to you. The plants in these offerings are native species plants, and aren’t necessarily the same varieties sold in garden centers. The native hazelnut/filbert offered here produces smaller nuts, but is much more resistant to the filbert blight. Many species of wildlife enjoy these nuts, and it produces colorful fall foliage. Because it tolerates salt, it would be excellent as a roadside hedge.

Also available for use as groundcovers are ornamental fountain grass, an apricot daylily, and Hosta Albo Marginata (with white-edged leaves). Two varieties of Siberian iris are also offered this year, Blue King and Snow Queen. These iris are quite adaptable: they grow beautifully in a moist area, but I also remember this plant blooming nicely in my Mother-in-Law’s sandy soil on Long Island. Blazing Star flowering plant is also available this year.

The tree selections are very nice. Deciduous offerings include Sugar Maple, Northern Red Oak, White Oak, Pin Oak and Sycamore, in addition to the adaptable varieties already mentioned. Evergreen trees include Colorado Blue and White Spruce, White Pine, and three firs: Douglas, Concolor and Balsam Fir. Concolor Fir tolerates drier soil than the other evergreens being offered.

The fourteen varieties of trees, nine shrubs, and five groundcovers available are listed on a well-designed order form, containing information necessary for you to make wise selections. Growth rate, mature size, soil and light preference, and best uses are included.

You may obtain the order form by sending an email to Robert.Stryker@ny.nacdnet.net; or call 585 489 6274. Ordering and payment deadline is March 19, 2021. Your purchase must be picked up on April 16 or 17 behind the county Highway Department buildings, 3360 Gypsy Lane at Hampton Corners in Groveland.

The plants being sold in this program are generally suited to our weather and soil conditions. Your purchase of these plants supports the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District programs.

Additional seedling selections are listed on the DEC web site, minimum order 25 per species; Google “New York State Tree Nursery” to find out what is available.

Julie Brocklehurst-Woods has been a Master Gardener Volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Livingston County since 2002. She enjoys helping all gardeners become successful gardeners, especially helping people prioritize and simplify their gardening tasks. She will answer gardening questions by email: JulieBW48@gmail.com.

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