Time to Order Tree Seedlings


Diseases, insects, drought and age take a toll on windbreak plantings. Plantings of all sizes, from a few trees on a city property to miles of trees around a farm, will eventually require tree replacement or renovation. Late fall is a good time to assess your windbreak and order trees for spring planting. Most windbreaks, even those with a few gaps, can be renovated to maintain or enhance their effectiveness.

November is the time Nebraska’s Natural Resource District (NRD) offices begin taking orders for windbreak seedlings to be delivered next spring.

Deciding on plant species and purchasing plants is a critical step in the establishment of a windbreak. This is the best opportunity to avoid plant species susceptible to insect or disease problems. Key points to keep in mind when purchasing tree seedlings include:

• Purchase your stock from a reliable source. In addition to an NRD office, bare-root tree and shrub seedlings can also be purchased from some nurseries. Your seedlings should come from nurseries using locally collected seed or seed from Northern origins. This ensures plants are well adapted to local growing conditions.

• Choose plant material that is suitable for your soils and can survive the environmental extremes of your site.

• Select insect- and/or disease-resistant plants whenever possible.

• Don’t be too quick to buy the cheapest seedlings; they may not be the best value in the long run.

• When ordering trees from your local NRD office, a minimum order of 25 seedlings is required; plant species are sold in bundles of 25 each. If 25 of one species is more than you need, then talk with your neighbors. Maybe you can place a joint order and split the bundles. Plants cost approximately $1.20 each, plus tax. You must pick up your tree seedlings at the NRD office when they arrive in spring.

Usually, windbreak seedlings are 2 years old and 12–24 inches tall, with full, healthy root systems. Bare-root seedlings must be handled carefully to ensure good survivability.

Many NRD offices also offer, at a minimal cost, machine planting for large orders. Preparation of the land prior to planting is the responsibility of the landowner. Contact your local NRD office for a list of additional services offered in association with windbreak tree plantings. Locate your local NRD office and find out more about the tree program at https://www.nrdnet.org.