The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has been growing seedlings for Virginia landowners for 100 years. The department’s applied research program has greatly influenced nursery practices as more research has assisted the nurseries in fine-tuning their nursery practices over the years to ensure the best quality seedlings for Virginia landowners.
The VDOF nurseries have evolved over the years to become what they are today. Take a look at some highlights of the nursery evolution.
1914 – Office of the State Forester established
1916 – Mr. J.P. Taylor of Orange, Va., donates $500 to establish a tree nursery program
1917 – University of Virginia (UVA) provides land at Lambeth Field for the first nursery
– First seed for 20,000 trees was sown (loblolly pine, shortleaf pine, white pine, Norway spruce)
1923 – Additional species (scotch pine, Douglas fir, Japanese larch, catalpa, locust) added
1927 – Nursery moved to a new site of the current Scott Stadium on the campus of UVA.
1928 – Additional species (arborvitae, Austrian pine, ash, white oak, slash pine, redwood, red pine, bald cypress, longleaf pine) added
1929 – Seedling production reaches 250,000 trees annually
– Nursery moved to make way for Scott Stadium; relocated to a new site of the current VDOF mechanics’ shop
– Nurseries “inherit” thousands of seedlings from Camp Lee near Petersburg after “military forest” is abandoned
1939 – Seedling production reaches 1 million trees per year
1947 – A second nursery opens at Camp Peary near Williamsburg
1951 – Seedling production reached 9 million trees per year
1952 – Camp Peary Nursery is returned to the U.S. Navy; New Kent Nursery opens at Providence Forge
1958 – Seedling production reached 42 million trees annually
1966 – Augusta Nursery established
1968 – VDOF employees developed the first full-bed mechanical pine seedling lifter
1984 – Sussex Nursery in Sussex County established
2004 – New Kent Nursery closes
2014 – VDOF nurseries celebrate 100 years!
2017 – First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe harvests the 2 Billionth seedling grown by VDOF nurseries
Innovation in Nursery Operations
Mechanical Pine Seedling Lifter
In the early years of the Virginia Department of Forestry’s nursery operations, seedling harvesting was performed by hand, which required a large number of people and was very inefficient. In 1968, the department borrowed a prototype mechanical seedling lifter from New York. After experimenting with the prototype, the department’s employees designed and built a machine using rear ends out of trucks and many custom-made parts. The employees developed the country’s first full-bed mechanical pine seedling lifter, which was capable of harvesting more than 20 million seedlings each season. The technology was shared with anyone who was interested, and today’s seedling harvesters are based upon this design.
|Acorn and Nut Identification Guide||FT0060|
Forestry topic information sheet helps in identifying the most common acorns and nuts in Virginia to assist in the collection for our nursery.
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|Hardwood Planting Guide||P00137|
Brochure illustrates and explains proper planting techniques for planting bare-root hardwood seedlings. Printed copies available.
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|Pine Planting Guide||P00117|
Brochure illustrates and explains proper planting techniques for planting bare-root pine seedlings. Printed copies available.
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|Planting Instructions for Your Loblolly Pine Seedling Plug – Tips for Success||FT0030|
Forestry topic information sheet provides instructions for proper planting of a loblolly pine seedling plug.
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|Reforestation Tree Seedling and Service Order||12.01||Form||View||nurseries||seedling-sales||form|
|Seedling Price Guide||P00139|
Brochure provides a simple listing of seedling species available for sale at our state Nurseries and current pricing. For more detailed species information, see our Web Store. Customers can order on-line at our Web Store or by mail with the included order form. Printed copies available.
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|Seeking Acorns and Nuts to Grow Seedlings||FT0011|
Forestry topic information sheet encourages citizens to get involved in the collection of acorns and nuts for propagation at our nursery, including the species needed, how and when to collect, and where to deliver seed.
|Services for Landowners||P00112|
Brochure provides information about the services available to landowners from the Virginia Department of Forestry, including forest management and forest health, timber harvesting and water quality, land conservation, tree seedling production, and resource protection. Printed copies available.
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|Tree Seedling and Understory Plant Presence in Deer Exclosures on the Matthews State Forest||CNRE-138NP|
The purpose of this case study was to determine the impact of deer on the composition of the herbaceous and regeneration layer in two stands in the Matthews State Forest. This report summarizes the findings of this case study.
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|Tree Seedling Catalog Order||12.02||Form||View||nurseries||seedling-sales||form|
|Virginia’s Best Genetics in Loblolly Pine – Loblolly Pine Crop Highlights||FT0001|
Forestry topic information sheet details why Virginia trees are your best choice, including cooperative research efforts, advantages of our genetically improved loblolly pine, benefits of top clipping seedlings, importance of dormancy, pales weevil treatments, and details about our genetically improved seedlings available for sale. Printed copies available.
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|Your Roots are in Virginia|
This poster is a pictoral representation of the history of VDOF nurseries.