Seedling Trees

For the past twenty years, the Laramie County Conservation District has offered low-cost seedling trees and shrubs, technical assistance and information to Laramie County citizens in an effort to encourage the establishment of conservation tree plantings such as shelterbelts, field or livestock windbreaks, living snow fences and/or wildlife habitat areas.

Seedling Tree Sales

The Laramie County Conservation District will be accepting tree orders for the 2015 planting season.  If you did not receive a form, you may access it by clicking here: 2015 Tree Order Form .  Tree orders will close March 13, 2015.   You can also contact us at (307) 772-2600 to request a form.

For photographs and brief descriptions of some of the varieties we will have available for purchase, click here.

The Many Benefits of Planting Trees

Curious about the overall benefits of your trees?  Click the link below to access the National Tree Benefit Calculator.  This tool breaks down the annual value of your tree into how it affects property value, stormwater runoff, energy, air quality and CO2 reduction.

National Tree Benefit Calculator

Planning a Windbreak

The Conservation District provides free technical assistance to design a windbreak for your property. In addition, the District provides consultations as requested to determine tree health concerns for Laramie County residents. For windbreak design assistance, call Shaun Kirkwood or Dale Beranek at 772-2600, or e-mail to schedule an appointment.

If you want to plan your own windbreak, below are some general tips to follow:

Tips On Planting Tree Rows

An average planting by the Conservation District consists of at least three rows to achieve good wind protection. A typical planting consists of shrubs or shorter trees comprising the outer rows, while evergreens (the foundation of the windbreak) should make up at least one inside row. Your tallest trees should be in the inside row(s.)

You should not make all your tree rows the same species (i.e. three rows of juniper.) This will help protect your windbreak in the event of a disease or insect destroying all of one species.

Planting different types of trees in the same row can create gaps and reduce windbreak effectiveness.

Spacing Within and Between Rows

The District suggests the following tree spacing distances to use when planting trees and shrubs in a row. Windbreak rows should be planted 20 feet apart. Always leave enough distance between rows and around your windbreak to allow cultivating equipment passage.

Suggested Tree Spacing:

  • Shrubs (i.e: Caragana, Lilac, Cotoneaster, Buffaloberry, Native Plum, Chokecherry) – Plant 3-6 feet apart
  • Smaller Evergreen Species (i.e: Rocky Mountain Juniper, Eastern Redcedar) – Plant 6-12 feet apart
  • Large Evergreen Species (i.e: Pine and Spruce) – Plant 10-12 feet apart
  • Deciduous Trees (i.e., Bur Oak, Green Ash, Hackberry, Golden Willow, Siberian Elm, Cottonwood) – Plant 10-14 feet apart

Remember that the above spacing recommendations are simply guidelines, depending on how you want to utilize your planting. For example: for a windbreak, trees will be spaced closer, whereas trees in a wildlife planting are spaced a little farther apart. If you have questions, please call the District for further information.

Checklist For Preparing Your Planting Site

Proper site preparation is very important for windbreaks. Plows, disks, or rototillers can be used to achieve necessary tillage and are available at rental equipment stores and landscape companies. The District also has a list of contractors who do site preparation work. Please call 772-2600 to receive a copy of this list. Fallowing the fall before planting is essential for dry land windbreaks to allow moisture to accumulate during the winter. Rows should be 8 feet wide and 6-8 inches deep.

If You Order Seedling Trees From The District:

Your seedlings will be available the last week in April. If we are not planting your trees, you will receive a postcard in the mail approximately the second week in April indicating when and where to pick up your trees. Please note that the card will come to the mailing address you have provided on your order form, so be sure and provide the District with your correct mailing address.

Seedlings come from the nursery packaged in protective wraps or containers as either bareroot or potted stock.

Bareroot Stock - is packaged in plastic wrap in quantities of 25 per species with a moisture holding medium (usually sphagnum moss or polymers) to keep the roots moist. Exposure to air and sunlight for even a brief period of time can kill a tree’s root system, and eventually the tree. Immediately upon receiving seedlings, add water to the moss for absorption.

Potted Stock - as they come from the nursery beds, they are placed in special potting soil and encased in individual 2″ x 2″ x 7″ tar paper pots or Styrofoam blocks of 30. Trees range in top height from 4 to 10 inches. The soil in the pots should be thoroughly moistened after you receive your seedlings.

For best results, trees should be planted as soon as possible. If you are unable to plant trees right away, place them in a shady area out of direct sunlight.

Weed and Moisture Management

Weed control is an extremely important factor for tree growth and survival. Weed and vegetative competition control should be provided for at least five years. Remember that weeds are better competitors than seedlings for moisture, nutrients and sunlight. They also provide fuel for fires and habitat for tree-injuring pests.

Mulch, cultivation and herbicides are three basic methods for controlling weeds. The District sells polypropylene fabric mulch in 300 ft. rolls for $110 plus tax for a 6′ roll, and $75 plus tax for a 4′ roll. These materials are also available at local nurseries. Fabric mulch has also significantly improved the survival of tree plantings. Fabric mulch allows moisture to pass through to the soil but minimizes moisture loss through evaporation. Mulch should be installed after seedlings have been planted. Pull seedlings through “X” shaped holes (no larger than 6 inches by 6 inches) cut into the fabric (“X” cuts ensure the fabric will not rub against the seedling stem.) The edges of the fabric can be secured with a covering of soil. Wire staples, rocks, etc. can also be used to hold fabric down in place.


Irrigation may be needed at planting time and is often helpful throughout the first several growing seasons. Generally, the District recommends 10 gallons of water for every inch in tree diameter. Also, it is recommended that you cease watering your trees at the end of August to allow the tree to harden off. Watering beyond this time can cause die back of new growth from an early freeze.

Contact the District at 772-2600 if you would like to have a free drip irrigation design prepared in the fall or winter prior to installing your tree planting. The District also has a list of drip irrigation contractors and parts suppliers available. Please call the office if you would like a copy of this list.

Please click here for an informational brocure on installing a drip system.

Insect and Disease Control

Examine trees for insect and disease problems during the growing season while weeding and watering. Insects and diseases can severely set young trees back. If you suspect that your trees have insect or disease problems, call the District for information on identification and treatment.

Winter Care

Snow cover is helpful to the young trees. A snow fence on the windward side of the windbreak the first year or two will protect plants from desiccation and add soil moisture.

Protection from the wind – most evergreen species require protection from wind, especially during winter months. Sunlight reflected off snow and wind can quickly dry unprotected conifer foliage. It is recommended to install wind protection for evergreen trees the first three years of establishment or until the trees are taller than the protectors. The Conservation District sells the mesh, bi-fold tree protectors for $2.25 each. Please note that the District has no control over inventories of these protectors, so be sure to call ahead of time to check availability. Other items that can be used for wind protection include wood shakes and bales of straw.

Replanting Trees

If you need to replace trees in your windbreak, count your dead trees in September or October each year to know what species you will need to replant. Customers are encouraged to place an order early, as species sell out rapidly. If purchasing trees for replanting through the District, you still must order the minimum that the District offers (30 for Potted or 50 for Bareroot.)

The District DOES NOT order extras and sells only what is left over in the late spring from our own plantings. Never allow a windbreak gap to remain; replant as soon as possible.

The District encourages ordering extra plants when first establishing your windbreak. They can be grown in a separate nursery area for a year or two. This will ensure that the replacement trees (if needed) will be the same age as the tree and shrubs in your windbreak.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT ANY ASPECT OF YOUR TREE PLANTING, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT OUR OFFICE at (307) 772-2600. The District provides this technical assistance FREE to Laramie County residents.

Planting and Fabric Mulch Application Services

The District provides a tree planting and fabric mulch application service for Laramie County residents. This service is on a first-come-first-serve basis. Last year the planting schedule filled up quickly, so order your trees and sign up for tree planting services as soon as possible so as not to miss out on this service.

In order to be placed on the list for these services, a paid tree order must first be received. Installation of the fabric and trees is also contingent on a District-approved windbreak plan. The fabric mulch application and tree planting services are billed upon completion. Please Note: only fabric purchased through the District can be applied by the District.

2014 Costs for these services are as follows:

Fabric Mulch Only Installation Fees:

Up to 1,500 ft. – flat fee of $150 plus $.40/lineal foot for fabric mulch
Over 1,500 ft. – $.50/lineal foot (includes fabric mulch)

Planting Only Fees:

30-250 trees – flat fee of $125*
251 + trees – $.50/tree*

*Trees are purchased separately

**Utility checks are required prior to contracting work with the Conservation District, and are the responsibility of the landowner**