Missaukee Conservation District

Tree & Plant Sales

We Love Native Species!

Serviceberry is one of the earliest understory trees to flower in the forests of northern lower Michigan.

Native trees and shrubs

Great for our wildlife, soils, and local climate conditions! We are dedicated to offering species adapt to our region. Even just one county west, different species are able to thrive. Here in Missaukee County, temperatures are often cooler and can have a big affect on certain plants, sorry, no Red Bud or Buttonbush for us.
Blue SprucePicea pungens is a native of the Rocky Mountain region. A favorite seedling for yards, windbreaks, and Christmas tree plantations; it is also popular for it’s unique color. However, Blue Spruce is very susceptible to needle cast disease which causes needles to shed from the lower branches of the tree moving progressively upward. Over a few years the tree often has a skeleton appearance with only the upper tree look healthy. For this reason, Blue Spruce is not offered–the native White Spruce is a suitable alternative.


Norway SprucePicea abies is a native of Europe traditionally cultivated in American cities and deliberately introduced to natural habitats. It is popular as a windbreak tree because it grows faster than any native spruce. Its seedlings and saplings are extremely shade tolerant, thus capable of growing under a canopy of other trees. Over the years, they become tall–overgrowing and displacing those trees that once gave them shelter. As soon as Norway Spruce take over, very few plants can tolerate the newly formed habitat. Over time, a very dense, shady canopy is formed in every spruce forest. At the same time, the soil becomes highly acidic and devoid of nutrients in the surface horizon due to a particular chemical process called leaching. It is mostly green mosses that can survive in the environment of well developed Norway Spruce stands. For this reason, Norway Spruce is not offered–the native Red Pine is a suitable alternative.
The annual tree seedling sale may contain a few non-native species. As partners of North Country Invasive Species Management Area (NCCISMA) we do not offer non-native plants that are considered invasive.
For more information about our annual tree seedling sale, click here.

Native plants

Like native trees and shrubs, they are great for any landscape and are highly tolerant to our year-round weather conditions. Native plants can adapt to poor quality soils because of their extensive root systems.  They are drought tolerant and require less maintenance.  With proper installation practices, establishment may be less than 2 years. Once established, maintenance of native plants is much less than cultivars, many of which require high amounts of watering, pruning, and winter protection.
Native grasses and wildflowers also provide wildlife benefits as they attract insects that are food sources for game and song birds. They provide nesting and resting areas as well as cover from predators.  Some serve as areas of thermal protection during the winter months and grasses are high in nutrients as forage for grazers.  The seed heads of wildflowers are also a good food source for many species of wildlife.
For more information about our fall native plant sale, click here.

How to Plant

Weed control is the most important measure to take to ensure survival and growth of your seedlings or plant plugs! The best way to control weeds or sod is to “scalp” the top two inches of soil and vegetation in an area two feet around the seedling/ plug. Tilling or herbicides (used as directed) may also be used before planting.
During planting it is important to keep the bare root seedlings in a bucket of moist moss, paper, or burlap. Be careful not to soak them in water as extended soaking can cause the roots to rot. Remove one bare root seedling at a time so roots do not dry out. A pre-root dip, such as Terra-Sorb, may help roots retain moisture.
  • Insert a planting bar or shovel and work back and forth to create a hole big enough to accommodate seedling/plug roots.
  • Place seedling in the hole at about the same depth it stood in the nursery (look for visible soil mark).
  • Cut the roots to about eight inches if needed, but do not break them off.
  • Make sure roots are in a natural, uncurled position (i.e. the hole is deep enough) or the plant plug is not sticking above the hole.
  • Firm the soil around the seedling/plug to prevent the roots from drying out.
  • Use water to wash soil around the roots to eliminate air pockets.
  • Add 2″ of mulch around the base of the seedling/plant.

Our goal is to educate about the importance of native plants and their connection to pollinators and native wildlife. Native plants are just one option of the many landscape possibilities.

Proceeds from the Native Plant sale will support maintenance and expansion of our demonstration gardens on the Missaukee County grounds & Conservation District trail at our office location on Sanborn Road. Visit us to see how you can help or adopt a garden bed for your group, club, family, or individually!