Bessey Nursery

The Charles E. Bessey Nursery SJSB-Connie Francis 195 Nursery signproduces over two million seedlings every year and is the oldest federal seedling nursery in the nation.


Interested in a Nursery Tour?

Call 308-533-2257

The area’s sandy loam, acidic to neutral soil, along with plentiful water means the Bessey Nursery is a perfect location for a federal seedling nursery. The seedlings grown here are used for reforestation following fire and insect infestations, wildlife/habitat plantings, wind breaks, conservation plantings, as well as for general planting. It is also home of the seed bank for forests in the Rocky Mountain Region. Cone collected from the Forest Service districts are sent to the Nursery to extract the seed and store until needed.

Greenhouse seedlings & tagsDuring the Spring and Fall, the Nursery is in full production; growing, packing and shipping hundreds of thousands of seedlings to the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, conservation districts, and other government agencies.

Bareroot stock is available through your local NRD, Natural Resource District.

  “This Spring we shipped 150,000 container seedlings of Douglas-Fir and Ponderosa Pine to the site of the Hayman fire in Pike San Isabel National Forest in Colorado,” says Richard Gilbert, Bessey Nursery Manager. “These seedlings were grown from cones gathered by Pike San Isabel National Forest Service personnel near Colorado Springs and sent to us for extraction and storage until they are needed. The seedlings were started in February 2013, packed once dormant in November 2013, stored in a freezer at 26 degrees, and today we are ready to return them home. It’s gratifying to know we play a part in preserving the natural integrity of our nation’s forests.”

According to Gilbert, in addition the Hayman fire site, another 136,000 container seedlings were shipped to the Pike San Isabel National Forest. In total almost 2.3 million seedlings were shipped for spring planting to forests in the Rocky Mountain Region and State Agencies including 223,000 to the San Juan National Forest, 160,000 to the Black Hills National Forest; 45,000 to the Nebraska National Forest; 50,000 to the Kansas Forest Service; 15,000 to the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest; 48,000 to the Grand Mesa, Umcompahgre National Forest; 85,000 to the White River National Forest; 1,000,000 to the Natural Resource Districts of Nebraska, 300,000 to Conservation Districts in South Dakota and North Dakota and large trees to the Memorial Grove near Monument, Colorado.