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Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
After enlightnenment, chop wood, carry water.
Zen Proverb


Lilac Seedlings

These are lilacs. The bundle is put in a pot, and covered in compost. Then it’s put in the shade, and a sprinkler on a timer waters them 4 times a day for a few minutes. I can stretch bare root stock an extra two weeks this way.

Bare Root & Plug Seedlings

If you just need to know what I still have, scroll down to blue table at the bottom.

Seedlings are for people who have more patience, thinner wallets, and greener than average thumbs. Starting off with seedlings can save you a bundle. Most of these are available as larger trees too, starting at 2 years and some up to trees that are hard to lift.

Seedlings are the only plants that can be shipped.

Seedlings need to be planted promptly. (Yes, I’m repeating myself.) Most are either dormant bare root, or small plug root systems like your Arbor Day tree. Bare root trees have to be kept moist. Even 30 seconds exposure on a hot windy day can do them in.

Bare Root

Trees are grown in the field, then in late fall they are dug with a machine similar to a potato digger that undercuts the row, shakes the dirt off them and dumps them in a bin. Then they go to the sorting shed, where they are graded, counted, bundled, boxed, and frozen lightly until spring.

Advantages of Bare root

Downsides of bare root.


Instead of being in a field, they are grown in styroblocks -- 1 foot x 2 foot x 6 inch blocks with a whole bunch of tiny pot cavities moulded in. When ready the trees are popped out of the block, graded, counted, etc.

Advantages of plugs

Downsides of plugs

Crowns, bulbs, tubers These are the chunky root of a plant that otherwise dies back to the ground each fall. Rhubarb and asparagus come as crowns. Jerusalem artichokes, iris are tubers, lilies are bulbs.

Plug trees have smaller root systems, which makes them faster to plant. They have a small supply of soil (peat moss, sand, and perlite mostly) so they don’t dry out as easily. They tend to suffer less from transplant shock. Because they have all the tiny hair roots intact, they can start growing before they get planted, giving you more time to get them in the ground.

Cotoneaster Bare Root shrub

These are 2 year old cotoneaster bare root seedlings. The smallest roots there can dry out in seconds on a hot windy day. Keep in a bucket of damp peat until just before you put them in the ground.

Spruce  bundle Bundle of 15 Spruce plugs. Plugs don’t dry out as fast. But don’t dawdle.

Working with bare root stock.

Bare root trees are typically twice as large, with much larger root systems. They have zero protection from drying out. When you pick them up from us, they are either bagged with some wet sawdust, or the bundles are in pots with the roots buried in wet compost. Park in the shade, under a spruce, or on the north side of a building, or in an unheated shed until you are ready to plant. Keep the material around the roots damp, but not soggy. Pails should have drain holes.

You have about 4-5 days to deal with bagged bare root, minus the time they have waited for pick up. If you can’t plant right away, heel in full bundles into any available earth that isn’t in full sun. I use large pots, or pails with drainholes. You can store them this way for another week or two. Longer storage leads to higher mortality rates. Planting in full bundles like this, not all the roots are in contact with soil, so keeping them shaded reduces stress on the ones in the middle of the bundle. If you have to keep them for longer periods, break up bundles. You can put several bundles in a container with dirt between them.

When you plant, mix up a half bucket slurry of peatmoss, compost, vermiculite, or perlite so that it is thick enough for the bundle of trees to stand more or less upright, but thin enough that you can separate one from the bundle. Keep tree roots under the surface as much as possible until just before you plant them. Work with only one or two bundles at a time. The others should be snoozing in the shade.

Ideally the bare roots should be exposed to the air for under 30 seconds between removal from the pail and being once again buried. Water the tree as soon as possible after planting. If you have dry soil conditions at planting time, you MUST water each plant immediately.

Planting during early morning or evening when the sun is less intense, and there is little wind will minimize the stress on the trees. The best possible day is heavy overcast with fog or light mist.

Working with plugs

Plugs also need to be kept moist, but this is a lot easier due to the peat moss around them. The same trick with the peat moss slurry works here too, but it only needs to be a few inches deep.

You have about 10-14 days to deal with plugs, minus the time they have waited for pick up. You can stretch this if you can keep them in a cool place. Unheated shed, north side of a building, dense shade. I set my plugs out on scraps of carpet. A sprinkler on a timer that waters them all 4 times a day for about 5 minutes.

Caveats: Seedling mortality is much higher than with established trees. They cannot be allowed to dry out. You have to keep the weeds a foot away. And you will still lose 10-30 percent of them.

Because they are small, they can get overwhelmed by weeds very easily. Then they are very hard to find. I recommend planting a survey stake with the tree. You can buy these in bundles at any of the big box home DIY stores, make them from scraps or I'll sell them to you for a buck a stick.

Consider growing them for a year or two in pots by the house. It's easier by far to care for them, and generally it's faster to plant into pots than into the ground. The cost of this is transplanting a larger tree down the road.

Seedlings do not carry my usual 1 year guarantee. They are alive and healthy when you pick them up. If you decide that you don't like them at the time of pickup, you can decline, and I will give you credit for your deposit for anything else at the farm.

Below is what I’m currently ordering for seedlings. This gets automatically updated from a spreadsheet. Sales are NOT taken off this regularly, so don’t just assume that because I’m bringing 700 scots pine you can show up here in the middle of May to pick up a couple of bundles. Place your order NOW, or even better, yesterday.

The list at the very bottom is what I actually have on order, conifers at the top, followed by leaf trees and shrubs. Other things I may be able to get if you ask early enough:

This list is what I can get as if January 2018. Where there is a minimum listed, I won’t order from my suppliers until I get requests for that many. If you can’t do the miniumum, tell me anyway. If I get 2 people who both want 50, I’ll see what I can do. In some cases it will take me an extra year. No deposit required until I can confirm that I can get them.


Prices on inventory are for single bundles. Buy a bunch and save. Write to for a quote on your order.

29 January 2018

From here down to the blue table below is updated at the start of the season, then not updated very often. The table at the bottom is usually up to date, but won’t show anything that is out of stock.

Conifer plugs

Mostly in bundles of 15. $2.50 -$4.00 each.

I can usually get certain species fairly late: White spruce, black spruce, black hills spruce, colorado spruce, jack pine lodgepole pine are used extensively in the forestry industry, so I can usually find them well into April, and sometimes later. Some of these are also available in August as hot lifts, but talk to me first before you order as they require special handling.

For the rest, what I have below is likely to be all there is. There is no sudden cutoff date. The selection just gets smaller and smaller.

Deciduous plugs & bare root seedlings.

Bare root seedlings come in bundles of 25 unless noted. Prices range from $3.50 to $5.00 Plugs for deciduous trees are 3.00 each.

My supplier for most of these caters to the reclamation trade. Often what I have in the pipe by mid February is all there is.

Edible perennials

These are also bare root, but get their own heading.

Still in stock at my suppliers

Ones below May be possible. Speak up soon. If they duplicate an item above it means my supplier still has some.

Sold out as seedlings

If you don’t see it, ask. Can’t hurt, and may help.

Table Notes:

The table below in principle gets updated every couple weeks as orders come in. But it’s messy. So don’t be afraid to ask.

If you want a partial bundle, add $1 per tree. I do not sell less than 5 of any seedling.

Conifer -- Fir

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Fir, Alpine 80 ml plug 250 5-10 in. $3.75
Fir, Balsam 80 ml plug 360 5-10 in. $2.50
Fir, Douglas 80 ml plug 315 6-10 in. $3.25

Conifer -- Larch

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Larch, Siberian 80 ml plug 540 10-14 in. $2.50
Larch, Tamarack 80 ml plug 270 6-12 in. $2.50
Larch, Western 80 ml plug 330 10-14 in. $2.50

Conifer -- Pine

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Pine, Austrian 80 ml plug 250 5-10 in. $3.75
Pine, Bristlecone 80 ml plug 120 4-8 in. $6.00
Pine, Lodgepole 80 ml plug 270 6-12 in. $2.50
Pine, Mountain 80 ml plug 120 5-10 in. $3.75
Pine, Ponderosa, Rocky Mtn 80 ml plug 270 4-7 in. $3.25
Pine, Red 80 ml plug 250 5-10 in. $3.75
Pine, Scots 80 ml plug 630 6-12 in. $2.50
Pine, Swiss Stone 80 ml plug 120 2-3 in. $5.00

Conifer -- Spruce

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Spruce, Black Hills 80 ml plug 540 5-7 in. $2.50
Spruce, Black Hills 80 ml plug 360 5-8 in. $2.50
Spruce, Colorado 80 ml plug 360 5-8 in. $2.50
Spruce, White 80 ml plug 270 5-8 in. $2.50

Food -- Blueberry

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Blueberry, wild 125 ml plug 3960 5-5 in. $3.00
Cranberry, Bog 125 ml plug 180 5-5 in. $3.00

Food -- Cranberry

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Viburnum, High Bush Cranberry 112 cell tray plug 224 1-2 in. $2.00
Viburnum, Low Bush Cranberry 112 cell tray plug 112 1-2 in. $2.00

Food -- Raspberry

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Raspberry, Double Delight Bare Root Seedling 100 12-12 in. $2.00
Raspberry, Souris Bare Root Seedling 200 12-12 in. $2.00

Food -- Saskatoon

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Saskatoon, wild Bare Root Seedling 100 12-12 in. $3.25

Leaf -- Alder

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Alder, Green 125 ml plug 180 6-12 in. $3.00

Leaf -- Ash

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Ash, Green Bare Root Seedling 100 3-4 ft. $4.00

Leaf -- Birch

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Birch, Dwarf 125 ml plug 180 5-5 in. $3.00
Birch, paper 125 ml plug 180 10-14 in. $3.00

Leaf -- Caragana

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Caragana, common Bare Root Seedling 100 12-18 in. $3.50

Leaf -- Cherry

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Cherry, Chokecherry 125 ml plug 180 10-12 in. $3.00
Cherry, Pincherry 125 ml plug 600 10-12 in. $3.00

Leaf -- Cotoneaster

Species/Cultivar Container/Format Count Size Price
Cotoneaster, Peking Hedge Bare Root Seedling 1500 12-18 in. $3.50

Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 9 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548

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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.