The Times West Virginian

March 12, 2014

Forestry officials give landowners extra time to order seedlings

By Richard Babich
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — West Virginia Division of Forestry officials are extending the deadline to order tree seedlings through April 30.

According to nursery superintendent Jason Huffman, this is being done to give landowners additional time to survey land following a harsh winter.

The Clements State Tree Nursery, near Ravenswood, is owned and operated by the state. According to public information specialist Leslie Smithson, Clements sells tree seedlings with the goal of the nursery becoming self-sustaining.

“The seedlings we sell are not for resale,” Smithson said. “Seeds we sell are for trees that are good for timber, soil erosion (prevention), mine reclamation and wildlife.”

The nursery has a variety of historical treasures, Smithson said. Mark Twain’s grandfather, Samuel Clemens, lived on the same land as the nursery.

The nursery also sells “French oak,” which are actually English oak trees. According to Smithson, the “French” description is given to the oaks because they were part of a gift France gave to the United States after World War II.

According to Huffman, Clements State Tree Nursery is one of the few homes to blight-resistant American chestnut trees. The American chestnut tree was driven to near extinction in the early 1940s.

“In the wild, there is no survival (for the American chestnut),” Huffman said. “These trees bear fruit and survive, which does not happen in the wild.”

The nursery produces up to 10,000 American chestnut seedlings per year. According to Huffman, the American chestnut seedlings can live up to and beyond 20 years.

“(We sell) seedlings for reclamation and reforestation, not landscaping,” Huffman said. “We are one of the few states that still has a (state-owned) tree nursery.”

Clements State Tree Nursery offers West Virginia’s official state tree, the sugar maple; seed-bearing black walnut trees; high-value lumber white oaks; and other trees for a variety of purposes.

The ordering season for seedlings begins in September and ends in April. According to Huffman, the seedlings are sold in bundles of 25 with discounts beginning with orders of 1,000 and 5,000 seedlings.

Trees can be delivered or picked up from the nursery. All of the available seedlings are between one and two years old.

Clements State Tree Nursery sells over two dozen varieties of bare-root seedlings for landowners in West Virginia and surrounding states.

For a complete listing of the seedlings that are available, go to the Clements State Tree Nursery website www.wvcommerce.org/ClementsNursery or call them at 304-675-1820.

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or Follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV