“We also are able to offer a limited number of surplus seedlings for sale to the general public to help with their own private efforts to improve wildlife habitat conditions on their property. This effort is part of our agency’s mission to manage wildlife and its habitat for current and future generations.”
New this year is an improved order form to help guide landowners seeking to create habitat for specific wildlife species, as well as a new “bundle” offering. Bundle offerings include 100 seedlings in a specified mix to benefit deer, game birds and songbirds, as well as riparian and winter-thermal habitats.
“The Howard Nursery strives to offer the finest available tree and shrub seedlings that best provide for the various needs of wildlife, including food and shelter. All of our stock is inspected annually by the state Department of Agriculture.
Ayers noted that, for evergreens, 1,000 seedlings planted at the recommended tree spacing of eight feet by eight feet will occupy 1.5 acres. Planting space for hardwood trees should be a minimum of eight feet by eight feet and up to 15 feet by 15 feet, depending on species. For hardwoods, 100 trees will occupy one-quarter acre, and 1,000 seedlings will occupy 2.5 acres. The various shrub species can be planted on a six foot by six foot or eight foot by eight foot pattern.
The preferred method of delivery is by United Parcel Service (UPS). Shipping and handling charges do apply. This is very efficient and most orders are received next day. Orders are shipped only Monday through Wednesday to assure delivery for weekend planting. However, orders also may be picked up in person at the nursery once notified the order is ready.
“Due to conditions beyond our control, such as ice and snow, wet weather, frozen ground, we may not be able to ship trees as early as we would like,” Ayers said. “We will do everything we can at the nursery to ensure timely shipping and arrival of trees. Generally, seedlings ship in the month of April.”
The Game Commission’s Howard Nursery produces bare-root seedlings for wildlife food and cover on State Game Lands. The nursery has been producing and distributing 2.2 to 6 million seedlings annually for wildlife food and cover since 1954. Landowners who have land open to public hunting and are enrolled in one of the Commission’s public access programs are eligible to receive up to 500 free seedlings annually, as available. Those enrolled cooperators with more than 500 acres are eligible for one free seedling per acre enrolled up to a maximum of 10,000 seedlings annually, as available. Cooperators are provided an order form each fall for following spring delivery. Free seedling orders are taken only in the fall through local Wildlife Conservation Officers (WCOs) and Land Management Group Supervisors (LMGS).
SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission