ALAMOSA, Colo. – The deadline for ordering conservation seedlings in the San Luis Valley is right around the corner, on April 1. The Colorado State Forest Service conservation seedling program offers a variety of trees and shrubs to help conserve energy and meet other conservation goals. Landowners intending to plant seedling trees or shrubs this year should order seedlings and begin initial planning now.

Adam Moore, a forester with the CSFS Alamosa District, says that a crucial aspect of planning a successful planting project is choosing the right time of year. “Our nursery in Fort Collins has tried to simplify the planning process by delivering seedlings around Colorado at the right time of year for higher planting survival success,” Moore says.

Planting seedlings at the right time of year will help avoid some post-planting problems, such as drying out the root system and transplant shock. Seedlings should be planted when in their dormant condition, before the fresh buds break and leaves or new needles come out for the year, generally between Oct. 15 and May 15 in the San Luis Valley.

Moore also says it’s a good idea to plant seedlings early in the spring season for good root growth and to allow time for the seedlings to begin adjusting to their new environment before the heat of the summer arrives. He also cautions against planting in frozen ground or during freezing temperatures because fine root hairs will freeze or the buds will freeze. A good window of opportunity for high rates of seedling success in the Valley is usually planting from April 15 to May 15.

The CSFS Alamosa District has been helping Valley landowners with tree planting for more than 50 years. For more information about buying seedling trees and planning a planting project, contact the CSFS at 719-587-0915 or visit