Start from seedling

TREE FOR ALL: A field of loblolly pine, growing in Goldsboro at Claridge Nursery, nearly ready to be shipped all across the state via the N.C. Forest Service's Nursery & Tree Improvement Program. Photo courtesy of N.C. Forest Service

Got a need for trees? The N.C. Forest Service has them up for grabs. The yearly seedling sale began earlier this month, and orders will be accepted until all offerings have sold out. However, the trees will remain in the ground until fall — the exact distribution time depends on weather.

For 2017, the state is producing 16 million seedlings, a number that’s steadily increased over the last few years of its Nursery & Tree Improvement Program. Conifers can be purchased in orders as small as 50, hardwoods as low as 10. The seedlings can also be ordered by the hundreds and even thousands; there are native warm-season grasses, too.

The “Forest Service is here to benefit all of the citizens of our state,” says James West, program head. “Some only want a few [seedlings] to plant on their property, some want to reforest or accomplish restoration work, while others are in the reforestation business full time. We try to have something for everyone.”

West says that pine selections are made based on growth and form characteristics, as well as disease resistance. In general, the program’s seedlings are native to and suitable for the state’s various geographic zones and originate from locally adapted seed sources. (See sidebar, Trees for WNC, for specifics about the best choices for this area.)

For hardwoods, 10 seedlings start at $25; for conifers, 50 seedlings begin at $25. The price goes up from there based on quantity and variety. A $2 fee per package/unit will be added to orders shipped to a distribution center. If mailed directly, shipping costs begin at $16 and increase based on the amount of seedlings purchased.

You can browse and shop the selections via, and find more information about the program on the nursery page of When the seedlings are ready, they will be distributed to a center in Asheville (there are also centers in Sylva, Lenoir and other WNC locations).


About Maggie Cramer
Writer, Editor, Communications Specialist

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.