Buying native trees good for curb appeal and environment


ST. LOUIS – If you are in the market for new trees and shrubs, the Missouri Department of Conservation wants to help you go native.

“It’s very important to think about what you plant. Not only the kinds of trees but where those trees come from,” said Justine Gartner, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s State Forester.

Trees native to Missouri can help improve wildlife habitat and soil and water conservation.

“We find that if you chose things that are from our Missouri environment and plant those, you’ll get a tree that will be well adapted to our soils, well adapted to our weather conditions,” Gartner said.

The George O. White State Forest Nursery, located near Licking, Missouri, offers a variety of low-cost native tree and shrub seedlings for everything from home landscaping, to windbreaks, and to erosion control.

“They are trees that are about one-year-old, White Pines maybe two years old. So, they’re not really, really tall,” Gartner said. “So, if you’re looking for something that is going to give you instant shade, you aren’t going to be happy with what you get from us.”

The nursery grows millions of seedlings each year, but some species are very popular and sell out quickly.

“But if you order now, your chances of getting the kind of trees that you really want will be really good,” Gartner said.

The more than 60 seedling varieties include bald cypress, cottonwood, black walnut, hickory, and river birch and are available in bundles of 10 or increments of 25 per species.

“You wouldn’t get your trees until February, March, or April because we don’t actually lift them out of the ground, package them, and get them in the mail until the tress has gone through the winter months,” Gartner said. “So, you’ll get your trees just in time for planting next Spring.”

You can find the 2020-2021 seedling order form at, or by contacting the State Forest Nursery at 573-674-3229 or

Illinois also has a State Forest Nursery. Visit their website:

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