If you’re a landowner interested in enhancing your woods and wildlife habitat, you can buy bundles of native tree and shrub seedlings from the Missouri Department of Conservation’s tree nursery. The new order form for the upcoming season’s trees just went online.
About 25 years ago, before I started working at MDC, my husband and I ordered our first conservation trees. As new landowners, we were excited about the possibilities. We put in windbreaks to the north of the house and added walnuts in the bottoms. We added dogwoods along forest trails (which rabbits seem to enjoy nipping off). Fortunately, the rabbits didn’t whack them all.
I missed the scent and sounds of the pine woods from my childhood, so we also added an acre or two of white pines. I figured I could walk among the pines by the time I was in my 70s. The great thing is that it didn’t take 40 years to feel like a forest—we have a little trail through them now. The ground is a mat of pine needles, and the trees shade it all. Walking through it in on a hot summer day makes a cool, fragrant retreat. A pair of green herons nested there for a few years.
The tree nursery mostly sells one tree type per bundle, but they also have some interesting mixed bundles for special goals such as producing better food and cover for quail. Youth groups doing special conservation projects can get free bundles.
That hard spring freeze we had zapped many seedlings at the nursery, so they don’t have quite the diversity or number of trees to offer this year. So place your order while they have them. Before you know it, you’ll have some great woods to enjoy.