The annual seedling tree and shrub sales program offers eligible Colorado landowners a convenient source of high quality, affordable planting stock for conservation plantings.

Aerial view of the CSFS Nursery, Fort Collins, Colo.
CSFS Nursery, Fort Collins, Colo.

These plantings can include hedgerow and windbreak establishment; noise, dust and visual screening; wildlife habitat improvement; living snow fence development; reforestation and afforestation efforts; erosion control projects; and Christmas tree plantations. Native and introduced varieties of trees and shrubs are available.

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Program Requirements

  • Use seedlings for conservation purposes, cannot be solely used for landscaping

If you do not qualify for the program, desire larger trees, want landscaping plants or are interested in a species not offered, numerous commercial nurseries should be able to meet your needs.

Seedling orders are taken from November to April of each year. Numerous nurseries should be able to meet your needs if you desire larger trees, want landscaping plants or are interested in a species not offered.

Order the seedlings in the county you would like to pick up the seedlings in, you do not have to live in the county to order seedlings from them.

Seedlings are available for pick-up on ONE specific day, determined by the cooperator selling the seedlings but usually during the beginning of May. The cooperator will contact you with the pickup date after you have placed your order.

Grand Junction Field Office Seedling Cooperators

COUNTYOFFICE ADDRESSOFFICE PHONE
DeltaCSU Tri-River Area Extension
525 Dodge Street
Delta, CO 81416
(970) 874-2195
GarfieldGarfield/Pitkin Soil Conservation District
258 Center Drive
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
(970) 404-3443
MesaCSU Tri-River Area Extension
2775 Highway 50
Grand Junction, CO 81502
(970) 244-1834
PitkinGarfield/Pitkin Soil Conservation District
258 Center Drive
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
(970) 404-3443
Rio BlancoWhite River Conservation District
351 7th Street
Meeker, CO 81641
(970) 878-9838

What to Plant & How to Care for Seedlings in Western Colorado

Bare Root
Bare Root

Visit our Colorado State Forest Service Nursery for additional information on:

Additional information can be found on the National Agroforestry Center’s publications page.

Not all tree and shrub species for sale are appropriate in western Colorado. Look at the Seedling Plant Selection presentation (5 MB PDF) and the Species Suitability Guide (94 KB PDF) to determine what species may do well in your area. Some plants thrive at different elevations; refer to this Plant Elevations Guide (12 KB PDF) to see which plants like it cold and which plants prefer lower elevations.

Mulch (50 KB PDF) and Polymer (50 KB PDF) can improve a seedling’s chance at survival when used properly. These tips help you choose which type of mulch or polymer will work best for you.

Planting depth (30 KB PDF) is critical for these small seedlings. Planting too deep will kill the plant due to lack of oxygen available to the roots. The top root should be right below the soil line.

The seedlings have been pampered in the nursery and will require supplemental water once planted.

For information on how to plant and care for the seedling trees, view the workshop presentation (11 MB PDF). For photos of the different shrub and tree species that may be available each year (it depends on many factors at the nursery) view this plant species photo set (4.5 MB PDF) from the nursery.

Seedling Container Sizes

Extra Large Potted

Extra-large potted seedlings – Ponderosa pines
Ponderosa Pine

 

Small Tube

Small tube Blue Spruce seedling
Blue Spruce

 

Large Tube

Large/regular tube - Juniper seedling
Juniper

 

Small Tray

Small tray of 50 Pinon Pine
A small tray of Pinon Pine seedlings sold in a lot of 50

Bare Root

Bare root seedlings are sold in bundles of 25 per species.
Sold in bundles of 25 per species

Large Tube

Large/regular potted Colorado Blue Spruce seedlings are packaged in a box for easy transportation.
Blue Spruce packaged in a box for easy transport
 

Seedling Planting Equipment

Field plowed and planted with seedlings
Field plowed and planted with seedlings

The Grand Junction Field Office has tractor-drawn implements available for a fee to landowners for installation of larger conservation plantings.

We have had these labor-saving machines for years, and similar ones are used extensively for the large windbreaks planted on Colorado’s eastern plains. The Grand Junction Field Office has a tree planting plow and a weed barrier fabric laying implement that greatly facilitate planting trees on larger jobs.

The landowner is responsible for supplying the tractor and operator needed to pull these implements. If you do not own or have access to a tractor, you might consider either renting or borrowing one. Please contact the Grand Junction Field Office for more information about renting these implements. Equipment availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Planting a lot of trees is a lot of work!

Tree Planting Plow

Planting trees by hand to the proper depth can be quite a job, especially with several hundred trees. Tree planting plows can plant 300 to 500 seedlings per hour. Even if your site prep is not the best, your whole crew didn’t show up to help and your tractor is giving you problems, you should still average more than 300 seedlings per hour!

Tree Planting Plow Pros

  • Speed of planting 300-500/hour
  • Depth of planting easy to control
  • Roots properly compacted, no air pockets
  • Easy to do a quality job
  • Nice furrow left for irrigating down row

Tree Planting Plow Cons

  • Too much hassle for less than 500 trees
  • Not good for over 5 percent side slope
  • Must provide your own tractor
  • Need at least a 3-person crew
  • Must pick up & return equipment
A seedling tree planting machine

Weed Barrier Fabric Laying Machine

If you are doing a large project with weed barrier fabric, you will want to use this! It lays fabric over your planted row and plows dirt onto the edges to hold the fabric down. One person riding the machine marks the fabric where a seedling is located as it is laid down, while another person following behind makes a slit in the fabric and pulls the seedling through.

Site Preparation

Site preparation (i.e. plowing and disking, deep rototilling, etc.) to loosen the soil and eliminate competing vegetation is necessary before using these implements. Ideally, this should be done the autumn before seedlings will be planted. Site preparation also can be done in the spring prior to planting.

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