2004-03-26 / Columnists

On The Bayfront

ByElisa Hinken
Spring Is The Time To Plant

ByElisa Hinken
Spring Is The Time To Plant

Happy Spring everyone! After such a harsh winter, I don’t know anyone who ISN’T looking forward to spring. The usual sign of spring (not counting the calendar) is the appearance of the Robin. Well, just like always, the first Robin I saw was on the first day of spring on the calendar. I wonder if Robins follow the calendar? Just a bad joke folks.

Many people break open their seed and planting catalogs or visit the local nurseries in preparation for planting. Though the best time to plant trees is in the early fall (most trees are on sale at that time too, surprisingly), most people buy trees and shrubs for their gardens in the spring. Merchandise is at their costliest too. So, here is a good alternative. The New York State De partment of Environment Conser vation has their annual sale of tree and shrub seed lings underway. The DEC’s Saratoga Tree Nursery produces more than 50 species of trees and shrubs, many of them native to New York State. The nursery’s annual sale of low-cost planting material is designed to encourage private land own ers to enhance the state’s environment for future generations.

The plant species selected should be based on soil type at the planting site. Conifers transplant easily from the nursery to the field and require minimum care after planting. Hardwood varieties are more difficult to establish and require annual care after planting. Wildlife plant species provide food and shelter for birds and mammals and make a good buffer between open and forested areas.

A minimum order for conifers and wildlife shrubs is 100; for hardwoods it is 25, and for container stock it is 50. Maybe you and your neighbor or relative can split an order.

How about donating half an order to the Wildlife Refuge (call them first before ordering to see if they can use it) or a local park?

For homeowners who wish to attract wildlife, mixed packets of 20 to 100 wildlife shrubs also are available. Seedlings will be shipped beginning in late April, and the sale will continue through May 2004.

Advice on planting seedlings is available from DEC forestry offices (yes, there is a forestry division in the New York City area) and from private consultants, such as your local nursery or even the local botanical gardens em ployees. There is also the DEC’s bulletin, "Trees and Shrubs," which contains helpful information on tree planting and a list of available species and prices. Copies are available from the nursery or from any DEC office.

To order seedlings, either call the nur sery at (518) 587-1120 on weekdays from 8 a.m., until 5 p.m.

For the best selection, place your order early.

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