Order seedlings early for best selection

By Russell Kidd

MSU Extension

As the new year unfolds, spring catalogs for gardening and tree planting begin to appear in mailboxes.

While the idea of tree planting in February might seem absurd to many, it’s really never too early to place your order for the coming spring.

That’s because tree and shrub nurseries don’t have an endless supply of plant material on hand. Many species of trees and shrubs are several years old from seed by the time you order them and take time to grow to a saleable size. Therefore, nurseries are not like factories that can simply “crank-up” production on short notice to quickly replace depleted stock that is sold out within a few weeks.

Because nurseries fill orders on a “first-come, first-serve basis,” it pays to place your order early in the new year. That does not mean that you will get a box of tree seedlings delivered during a winter blizzard. Instead, these companies will simply reserve the quantity of plant material you order and deduct that amount from the known inventory they expect to have available for sale this spring.

And as the orders continue to roll in, a nursery will continue to fill orders until all of its inventory is depleted. At that point, that species, type and size of plant material will be considered “sold-out” until next fall or spring.

To guarantee your best choice and selection of plant material, it generally does pay dividends to order early instead of waiting until the warm weather to purchase your planting stock.

Tree order deadline is April 2. Call for availability after this date. Order early for best selection. For more information, call (231) 757-3708, ext. 3, write to: Mason-Lake Conservation District, 655 N. Scottville Road, Scottville, MI 49454 or visit mason-lakeconservation.org.