While it might be winter, landowners can begin making plans to help wildlife this spring – and beyond – by planting tree and shrub seedlings offered by the Game Commission’s Howard Nursery. The 2015 seedling order form will soon be available online, and sales are set to begin January 5.
Most seedlings are sold in units of 25, but 100-seedling bundles also are available in mixes to benefit deer, game birds and songbirds, as well as to improve riparian and winter-thermal habitats.
The 2015 order form contains a wide selection of evergreens, shrubs and fruit- and nut-bearing trees. Most species are native to Pennsylvania, and with the exception of black locust, all of the available hardwoods are grown from seed collected from Pennsylvania sources and processed by Game Commission personnel.
This year’s order form features three species that have not been offered regularly in the past. Nannyberry, a native large shrub or small tree, produces fruits that are an important food source for many birds and mammals in the fall and winter.
Another shrub, northern bayberry, can grow to 12-foot heights and produces berries important to birds. And wild plum can grow up to 20 feet tall, with roots that can form excellent wildlife thickets in bottomlands, woodlots and other areas.
For both northern bayberry and wild plum, units of 25 1-year-old seedlings are available for $12.50. Nannyberry is sold in 25-seedling units priced at $8.75, but – like many of the seedlings offered for sale – can be purchased at a discounted price.
Although a discount is not offered for all species or habitat bundles, orders of 12 or more total units qualify for applicable discounted pricing. With the discount, prices are as low as $3.75 per bundle, or 15 cents per seedling.
The mixed-oak bundle costs $6.25 with the discount. Species that qualify for the discount are marked on the order form.
Annetta Ayers, superintendent at Howard Nursery, said there is a very limited supply of some of the seedlings for sale, wild plum included. Those who are interested might want to call Howard Nursery at 814-355-4434. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Orders can be placed by telephone, as well.
The order form and information about the seedlings for sale will be available at the Game Commission’s. The form usually is posted to the website shortly before sales begin.
The order form can be completed and submitted online, or printed out and faxed or mailed. Payments are not due until the order is confirmed by Howard Nursery. For those without Internet access, order forms can be obtained at Game Commission offices or various displays or booths at shows in which the agency participates through the spring or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Howard Nursery, 197 Nursery Road, Howard, PA 16841.
While the order form provides a brief description of the tree species available and their benefits to birds and wildlife, more information is available on the website on the Tree Seedling Index webpage.
The preferred method of delivery is by United Parcel Service. Shipping and handling charges do apply.
Orders are shipped only Monday through Wednesday to assure delivery for weekend planting. However, orders also may be picked up in person at the nursery once buyers are notified the order is ready.Generally, seedlings ship in the month of April.