Conservation Connection: State nursery seedlings

Posted on: 2:03 pm, December 4, 2013, by

(KPLR) – Despite some weather-related challenges of the past year, the George O. White State Nursery is once again ready to fill your tree and shrub seedling orders. But it’s even more important than ever to get orders in early this year so that you can enjoy the many benefits of this economical resource of trees and shrubs.  Dan Zarlenga, from the Department of Conservation, talked with Chris Higgins about the program.

Q. Tell our viewers a little about the George O. White State Nursery.

  • In Texas County, 3 miles NW of the town of Licking
  • U.S. Forest Service established the nursery in 1935 to produce shortleaf pines to re-establish the Ozark forests clear cut by logging earlier in the century
  • The property was turned over the MDC to operate in 1947, which has been running it since
  • Named eventually for Missouri’s first State Forester, George O. White


Q.  What’s the nursery’s mission?

  • Complete facility—planting, harvest, processing and shipping in one place
  • Produce tree, shrub and prairie forb seedlings (mostly Missouri natives)
  • Help Missouri Landowners create and sustain healthy habitat and accomplish their goals
  • In summer and fall they buy seed from MO land owners and collect most seeds from MO
  • This ensures seeds are genetically optimized to survive in our climate


Q.  What are they used for?

  • Reforestation
  • Erosion control
  • Wildlife food and cover
  • Stream bank stabilization
  • Not so much for ornamental and landscaping


Q. What were some of the challenges the nursery faced this past year?

  • Actually they go back two years
  • The drought of 2012 affected seed production and quality—this limited what seeds the nursery could purchase, resulting in reduced inventory of some species
  • Spring of 2013 was cold and wet, which delayed germination and growth of some species by 2-3 weeks—oaks affected most and a couple species never did germinate
  • Then the nursery received 6 inches of rain on Aug. 6, when flash flooding caused damage to the nursery and the shortleaf pine seedlings


Q. What was the result?

  • The nursery is still able to provide the best quality seedlings, but quantities on some are reduced and some seedlings will be shorter than usual
  • So it’s all the more important to order early to be sure and get what you want!


Q.  When and how can viewers order?

  • Obtain a seedling order form online or at Conservation offices
    • Has complete listing, species information and color pictures
    • Seedlings available end of April—order early for better selection
    • Check  for seedling availability or to order

Price ranges 16 to 80 cents per seedling, depending on species, size and quantity