Revised order form
The Colorado State Forest Service Nursery continues to expand its list of seedling tree and plant offerings. Ongoing trials at the nursery seek species that can be reproduced in volume and do well in our Colorado environment. Those that succeed then are offered to the public throughout Colorado and in adjacent states. In recent years two categories have been emphasized. One has been to identify and grow tree species that would be alternatives to Ash, which is increasingly threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer. Last year’s introduction of the Littleleaf Linden and Kentucky Coffeetree were in that vein. This year’s new offering in that category is the Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa), a slow-growing narrow upright tree with showy, white, orchid-like flowers in early summer and large heart-shaped leaves. The tree develops bean-like pods that often remain on the tree all winter. This tree is considered easy to grow, tolerates many conditions, and requires moderate soil moisture. It grows at up to 6,000 feet elevation.
The other category the nursery emphasizes is native wildflowers and grasses. Among the conservation applications it targets are the planting of more drought-tolerant species and the creation of pollinator habitat. Colorado-native wildflowers and grasses are often well-suited to these applications. A variety of perennial flowers, many of which are drought-tolerant, were first offered two years ago. This year several more have been added, including Milkweed, the food of Monarch Butterfly caterpillars. Also new to the offerings is Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), our native Beebalm with profuse pink to lavender flowers in mid-summer. The rose-purple spikes of Gayfeather (Liatris punctate) also provide food for pollinators. A new grass, Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), joins Little Bluestem and Blue Grama as drought-tolerant native grasses. Switchgrass develops deep roots, which makes it useful in restoration of disturbed soil. Also an ornamental with showy pink, red, or silver flowers and airy seed heads, it has been used as a biomass crop for ethanol and butanol production.
New introductions are not limited to these categories, however. Also new this year is Water Birch (Betula occidentalis), which joins Thinleaf Alder and several willow species among trees/shrubs that like plenty of water. These, too, have a role in reclamation and restoration in the landscape. Also known as Rocky Mountain Birch, Water Birch forms thickets along Colorado stream banks up to 9,000 feet elevation. It can be trimmed to a single stem and grown as a tree. It has attractive bark and its leaves turn yellow in the fall.
Where lot size does not allow for a wide, spreading Pine tree, Bosnian Pine (Pinus heidreichii) may be the answer. This introduction from the Balkans and southern Italy resembles Austrian Pine, but is slow growing and has a smaller footprint. Though it grows at 8,000 feet in its native habitat, the nursery ces suggests 7,500 feet here. A recent arrival, its densely branching, columnar form makes it well suited for windbreaks and snow fences. It prefers well-draining sandy or loamy soils and prefers full sun. It is hardy to USDA Zones 6-8. And is highly drought tolerant, once established.
The nursery once again is offering Serviceberry as a shrub or small tree. While it is the same plant as previously grown by the nursery, it is now labelled Saskatoon Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia).
Customers who order by mail will receive a redesigned order form which combines our offerings by categories: Deciduous trees, Coniferous (Evergreen) trees, Shrubs, Wildflowers and Grasses, and Planting supplies. Under the name of each species are shown all the forms in which that species is offered: Large tubes, Small tubes, Extra-Large pot, 50-cell Tray, or Bare Root. Customers will no longer need to search through the listings by container size to search for the species they want. All of the options are now combined in one location. This revised order form may be found on our website under the “About” tab, then “2017 Order form.”