Community Ag Alliance: Think spring?
You might be wondering what El Niño is going to do in the next few months in our corner of the world. It seems as though we might have a big winter ahead of us, with plenty of snow already here.
Given the time of year, it seems rather soon to be asking you to think about spring planting plans. But that is exactly what we would invite you to do. The Colorado State Forest Service is accepting orders for low-cost seedling trees, shrubs and perennials grown at our nursery in Fort Collins, to be delivered to town next spring. More than 100 species are available, most of them native, as bare roots or different pot sizes to accommodate all of your conservation, reforestation and reclamation goals. Trees and shrubs range from $1 to $10 each, and depending on size, they are sold individually or in bundles of 25, 30 or 50 plants.
Some of the most popular items, such as the XL potted trees, sell out quickly. These are two- to three-year-old trees in one-gallon pots. They have the advantage of a more developed root system and usually higher survival rates.
The flowers are going fast too. This is the second year of the CSFS nursery’s native perennial flowers program. There are 12 different types available at $3 per plant. You can create an array of colors on your land while providing for an assortment of food for birds and pollinators through the summer and early fall seasons.
The Colorado State Forest Service Nursery, located on the Foothills Campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, is the state’s leader in producing Colorado-grown seedling trees and shrubs for conservation purposes.
In keeping with its mission, the CSFS Nursery produces a variety of species for landowners and land managers, all selected for their hardiness and adaptability and ideally suited for conservation purposes.
An interesting local pilot program by the nursery — in conjunction with Colorado Parks and Wildlife — is the collection of native Yampa river plant stock to be grown and reproduced at the nursery. These native plants will then be used in local riparian restoration projects.
To purchase seedling trees from the CSFS, landowners must agree to use them for conservation purposes only. There is no minimum acreage requirement. Planting trees for conservation provides for many environmental, economic and social benefits, including:
• wind/snow control to protect roadways and livestock,
• enhanced wildlife habitat and reforestation,
• increased property values, and
• energy conservation through reduced utility bills (shade in the summer, windbreak in the winter)
We encourage folks to start small. Planting a tree is a selfless and rewarding act, but taking care of that tree is where the real work begins and where your efforts should focus. Think about water availability, soil type and the time you have available to take care of your conservation efforts.
Delivery day to Steamboat Springs is May 10. The order form and the nursery’s current inventory are available on our Web site, csfs.colostate.edu/seedling-tree-nursery.
If you need help with your planting plans or just a little inspiration, we can advise you on species selection and planting techniques. Come by our office on the west side of town or give us a call at 970-879-0475.
Carolina Manriquez is a forester with the Colorado State Forest Service.
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