As many of my Colorado Master Gardener students and volunteers know, I am more of a fruits-and-vegetables" than a
flowers" kind of horticulturist. Don't get me wrong, I like flowers. But for me, personally, an edible landscape is
more attractive than a visual landscape.
However, with the current winter we are having, I don't think I have ever been so happy to see crocuses in my yard. The
purples, yellows and whites let me know that spring is on the way, regardless of the 4-foot snow pile that still sits
on the north side of the house.
It also lets me know that in about six weeks, I can start seeding the vegetable garden (insert cheesy smiley-face
Another ritual of spring is the ordering of plants.
The seed catalogs have slowly stopped filling my mailbox and now I am just awaiting my onion transplants.
Those of you who are planting fruit trees may also be anxiously awaiting your bare-root whips (dormant trees that have
few branches) so you can get them in the ground this spring.
In addition to purchasing the bare-root fruit trees, there are those of you who take advantage of a great program that
is offered by the La Plata Conservation District (in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural
Resource Conservation Service and the Colorado State Forest Service) that allows property owners to purchase tree and
shrub seedlings without a large expense.
The Conservation Seedling Tree and Shrub Sales Program provides planting stock for conservation plantings, wildlife
habitat improvement, living snow fence development, reforestation, erosion control and Christmas tree plantations. The
majority of these plants are grown at the State Forest nursery on the Colorado State University Foothills Campus in
Before ordering plants (forms can be obtained at the Extension Office, the USDA Service Center in Bodo, or online at
there are a couple of requirements:
Own two or more acres of land.
Use seedlings for conservation purposes (including hedgerow and windbreak establishment, as well as noise, dust and
visual screening), not landscaping.
Agree not to resell seedlings as living plants.
would highly recommend you contact the La Plata Conservation District (259-3289, ext. 3) and let them know you are
interested. If you allot enough time, you can work with the Natural Resource Conservation Service or the State Forest
Service to prepare a planting plan for your specific site.
When planting bare-root seedlings, try to get them in the ground as soon as possible. Store them in a cool place and
when planting, try not to expose the roots to warm air, wind or sun.
If you have to wait more than a couple of days, you should place them in a trench, cover the roots with loose soil and
fill the trench with soil, making sure to keep all of it moist.
For further help in planting bare-root or potted plants, feel free to give me a call.
us or 382-6464.
Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.