519 East Sheridan Street, PO Box 609 • Eagle River, Wisconsin 54521 • (715) 479-6456 

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A (b)log of Natural Resources Information

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

~ Nelson Henderson



As a landowner myself, this past fall we planted seedlings as a buffer between our property and a neighbor, after a multi-year spruce budworm infestation decimated the beautiful trees on our, and our neighbor's, property. After removing the dead trees, we chose to plant white spruce seedlings knowing that they will provide nice cover for birds, as well as a good neighborly screen with their top-to-bottom branching. In addition to the white spruce, we planted other species for variety, wildlife habitat diversity, and...sometimes we just have a favorite native species we want to see more of on our land!


 Freshly planted white spruce seedlings on the Welnetz property that will grow into a natural buffer. 


I purchase our seedlings from Trees For Tomorrow (TFT) in Eagle River, Wisconsin, where I also happen to be the manager of the tree seedling program! Each spring for the past 80 years, TFT has offered tree seedlings. In the early years, Trees For Tomorrow focused on landowner assistance, and distribution of tree seedlings that would re-forest the cut-over Northwoods. By the 1950's, Trees For Tomorrow’s founders distributed 23,000,000 seedlings. Today our emphasis is on education, and what better way to teach about sustainability while retaining some of our history than to sell tree seedlings.


For our annual seedling selection we keep to native species that are known to flourish in the Northwoods' environment (e.g. sandy soil). Each seedling comes rooted in it’s own dirt plug giving them a better success rate then a bare root seedling. People like to purchase seedlings from TFT because they can order lower quantities, meaning that anyone can give it a try by simply planting a few seedlings in their yard or property. TFT enjoys hearing stories from people who have been purchasing seedlings for years and their success of growing their “forest.”


Individuals buy our seedlings for many reasons. Perhaps it’s wanting to replant after a storm has taken down trees. Maybe it’s wanting to add diversity to an area of land. Or it could be replanting trees to replace the trees taken in a scheduled land management harvest. Or a combination of all these. Some people also buy seedlings for celebrations of life, weddings, or thank you gifts. What ever the reason, we sell well over 5,000 seedlings a year.


If you are interested in purchasing our seedlings, preorders begin early March every year. We beging filling preorders in mid-May when the seedlings physically arrive on campus from the nursery. Our seedlings are sold in lots of 10 so it makes it nice for anyone wanting to plant just a few in an area. All information regarding species and how to order will be available on our website. For 2023, our species will be White Spruce, Northern White Cedar, Red Pine and White Pine, all native to Wisconsin. The seedlings are 4”-12” in height depending on the species. Each seedling is in their own dirt plug, and they tend to have a better survival rate than bare root.


Orders can be placed at or by calling (715) 479-6456.


  Author Juli Welnetz, Office Manager and Tree Seedling Program Coordinator