Winter hasn’t quite let loose its snowy grip from the Wilson State Nursery fields in Boscobel, but spring will soon be here, and the reforestation program staff are readying themselves to harvest seedlings from the cool, moist soil. It won’t take long for the frost to leave the ground.
For those who have spent parts of the winter planning to improve their properties, the Wisconsin DNR’s reforestation program has plenty of seedlings available to create and enhance wildlife habitat, stabilize the soil, block winter wind and snow and provide a future shady spot to sit.
Conifers available include white cedar, jack pine, red pine, black spruce, white spruce and tamarack. Conifers are great for providing thermal cover to wildlife during winter, providing wind and snow breaks and privacy along property lines. Jack and red pine grow fast and in some of the most inhospitable, sandy sites. Spruce prefers moister soils and tends to grow slowly but produces a dense hedge for critters to hide behind and amongst. Tamarack can adjust to most site conditions and grows fast.
Hardwoods include black cherry, swamp white, white and bur oaks and black walnut. Many of these hardwoods provide forage or mast for wildlife (or even humans!) and grow quickly in fertile soils. Black cherry will begin producing fruit as soon as five years. The oaks take a little longer to produce, but usually within 20 years a few acorns will start to form.
Consider talking to a local forester to get more information on tree planting and forest management. A good planting plan can focus a landowner’s efforts and create a strategy to achieve all their property goals. Find your local forester at the Forestry Assistance Locator – WI Department of Natural Resources.
Contact our nursery hotline at 715-424-3700 for up-to-date information on seedling availability and to place an order. A minimum order is 1000 seedlings, 500 shrubs or a packet containing 300 tree or shrub seedlings. Trees and shrubs must be purchased in increments of 100 of each species.
Seedlings sold by the Wisconsin State Nurseries are to be used for reforestation, wildlife habitat and windbreak and erosion control purposes and must be planted in Wisconsin. Answers to the most common questions are available on the “Frequently Asked Questions” page.