2012-04-19 / Outdoors

Seedlings up for sale


CONSERVATION DISTRICT director Buzz Long prepares orders for the District’s annual spring seedling sale. Some trees and shrubs will be available for walk-ins Friday at the Leelanau Enterprise building. CONSERVATION DISTRICT director Buzz Long prepares orders for the District’s annual spring seedling sale. Some trees and shrubs will be available for walk-ins Friday at the Leelanau Enterprise building. As Leelanau has changed, so has the Leelanau Conservation District annual spring plant sale set for tomorrow.

“A lot of the pine plantations you see throughout the District were planted through a cost-share program with the federal government,” said Buzz Long, executive director of the Leelanau Conservation District.

Decades ago big orders were the biggest component of the spring plant sale. “One grower might get 20,000 or 30,000 (pine) seedlings,” he said, enough to cover 20 or 30 acres. Fastgrowing pines were seen as a way to prevent soil erosion.

By contrast, the biggest order that will be filled Friday at the District’s annual sale will be for 2,000 shrubs and trees. As is common with orders today, a landowner is trying to improve wildlife habitat. In all, some 10,000 plants will be bought by the public for planting n Leelanau County.

Orders have grown smaller in size, but the average tree is larger than in the past. The most popular plants sold by the District today are Norway spruce that are 2-3 feet in height.

Long joined a small crew of workers starting Monday in counting and bundling orders out of bulk purchases of trees, shrubs and native grasses from nurseries located in western Michigan. The site of the sale changed this year from Leelanau Fruit Co. in Suttons Bay to the Leelanau Enterprise, located at 7200 E. Duck Lake Road, Lake Leelanau. The Enterprise is not charging for use of its building.

Residents may pick up orders at the site from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Or, if they did not place an order, residents are also invited to stop in to buy extra plants purchased by the Conservation District for sale to the public.

“If they get here early, we’ve got some of just about everything but white pine and hemlock” said Long.

Funds from the sale, which nets about $8,000, represent an important revenue source for the District.

The Conservation District has scheduled a native plant sale for Friday, June 29, at which time native grasses will also be available. Long may be contacted at 256-9669; the Conservation District is located at 112 W. Phillip St., across from the Lake Leelanau post office.

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