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COLUMBUS, OH - Free pine seedlings are available for planting in the state's southern 49 counties as a result of cooperative efforts between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Ohio operations of MeadWestvaco - formerly known as Mead. Seedlings are available for reforestation purposes to landowners who agree to plant at least three acres of white pine.

State service foresters from the ODNR Division of Forestry are the primary contacts for the program and assist landowners in qualifying for the free seedlings. They also provide technical advice in how and where to plant the pine trees.

MeadWestvaco purchases up to 600,000 seedlings each year for the program from ODNR’s tree nursery in Marietta.

A three-acre planting represents more than $500 worth of trees. There are no restrictions on how the seedlings may be used or harvested once they are mature.

“Since the free seedling program began in 1985, more than 11,000,000 seedlings have been planted on nearly 18,000 acres,” said John Dorka, Chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “We appreciate the commitment MeadWestvaco continues to make toward Ohio’s reforestation efforts.”

Landowners interested in planting more than 30 acres can qualify for free seedlings and financial assistance for planting them from MeadWestvaco under another special program.

ODNR is the largest producer of tree seedlings in the state, selling between three and five million trees each year for reforestation efforts. ODNR foresters have planted more than a half-billion trees in the past 80 years.

“Ohio is now more than 30 percent forested, compared to just 12 percent forested a century ago,” said Dorka. “We’re proud of our role in that dramatic turnaround.”

Seedlings are sold each year by ODNR for use in reforestation, wildlife habitat development, erosion control, windbreaks and other conservation projects. The seedlings are also used for the state’s Windbreak Program, which has planted more than 750 row-miles of trees in 17 northwest Ohio counties to protect farmland from wind erosion.

More than a dozen varieties of trees are still available for sale, including white pine, silky dogwood, sugar maple and baldcypress. The trees, available in multiples of 50, are one to two years old and bare rooted. A minimum order of 250 trees is required.

Selecting the proper type of tree for a particular location and soil characteristic is essential for a successful planting. ODNR service foresters are available to help landowners in choosing the right trees for their particular objectives. This assistance is especially recommended for plantings in excess of one acre.

For specific information about the availability of various tree species and their prices, or for a list of service forester office locations (by county) and telephone numbers, contact the ODNR Division of Forestry toll free at 1-877-691-8733 or on the Internet at ohiodnr.com
MeadWestvaco Corporation is a leading producer of packaging, coated and specialty papers, consumer and office products. Using sustainable forestry practices, MeadWestvaco owns and manages more than 3 million acres of forests.
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