Forests Begin with Seedlings

Want to be a landowner with his or her own forest? Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry can help! We are officially in the midst of tree planting season. Didn’t know such a season existed? For Oklahoma trees the season is typically December through mid-April and you can get your own forest started by ordering trees and shrubs from the OFS nursery in Goldsby.

Trees like to start their lives during the cold winter months. For OFS the process involves planting seed one or two years ago, nurturing and growing over 35 species of trees and shrubs into a size that is ready for you to plant. Then as the New Year kicks off, OFS staff begin “lifting” the seedlings and bundling in anticipation of shipping them to your doorstep for planting.

“The colder temperature during lifting, packing and planting is critical to the seedlings survival because they remain in a dormant state until the spring temperatures arrive,” said State Forester George Geissler. “This year we were a little concerned about having enough soil moisture, but things have improved over much of the state since we have received some significant rains this fall.”

Why plant trees? There are many reasons—money, recreation, legacy for your kids and grandkids, wildlife habitat improvement and simply putting your land into use. Planting trees to your property not only improves the aesthetics but improves the value of the property. Trees provide a refuge for deer, turkey, songbirds and other wildlife. When planting trees for commercial use, your children and grandchildren will be the beneficiaries when the timber is harvested. The possibilities are endless and the motivations are different for people who purchase seedlings each winter.

“We have a fellow down in southeast Oklahoma who plants trees each year to ‘leave something for his kids’ and in this case his ‘kids’ are over 60 years old,” said OFS Service Forester Hank Thompson as he referred to 92 year old, L.A. Burnett. “Mr. Burnett has been a forest owner for over 52 years and is a former Oklahoma Tree Farmer of the Year.”

No matter how large or small your acreage OFS foresters can assist you in planning and planting trees. Bare-root and containerized seedlings are available in groups of 50 per species. Wildlife packets contain 100 trees with 25 each of four species. To get more information or to order your seedlings visit or call 800-517-3673.