Thursday, April 25, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Las Vegas State Tree Nursery
Nursery manager Amy Dunn tends to more plants at the Las Vegas State Tree Nursery than she can count.
Tucked into the corner of Floyd Lamb Park off a gravel road, the nursery is home to hundreds of plants indigenous to Southern Nevada.
Underneath a stretch of shaded area, there are rows upon rows of trees and shrubs sprouting up from buckets filled with soil, sand and fertilizer. There are desert willows and desert almonds, eucalyptus trees and honey mesquites. They range from older, 3-foot-tall, bright green shrubs to young, tiny seedlings peeking out of a dirt-filled yellow test tube.
Some will bloom flowers to attract butterflies while others might provide food for birds. All will grow up to be planted in Southern Nevada’s desert landscape, and all will be on sale to the public Saturday during the nursery’s third-annual spring plant sale.
“The impact is to try and get the proper plants into the Las Vegas Valley or the Foothills,” Dunn said. “For the sale, we’re trying to get these plants out to people.”
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, people can visit the nursery, 9600 Tule Springs Road, without paying the park fee to buy plants at discounted prices. Visitors to the sale also can speak with master gardeners, who will be on hand to share their knowledge and assist inexperienced gardeners.
Dunn said the event allowed the Las Vegas State Tree Nursery to fulfill the other half of its function — providing indigenous plants to the public. The nursery was established in 1976 to provide adapted, affordable trees to enhance Nevada’s natural resources. Every plant at the nursery is a desert plant, which means it has the ability to hold water like a cactus and withstand long droughts.
Many plants fulfill conservation roles — such as reforestation, soil erosion control or post-fire rehabilitation — while the others are for the public. Sometimes, Dunn said, people forget that the nursery exists because it is tucked into the back of the park.
The sale also helps the nursery clear stock and get older plants into the ground before the summer hits and they grow too big. Plants will go for $3 to $15, depending on their size and age. Dunn estimates the nursery sells about $4,000 worth of plants during the annual sale, making room for new plants growing in the greenhouses.
“People can expect to get native plants they can’t get anywhere else,” Dunn said. “A lot of conservation plants you’re not going to find in your typical nurseries.”
While many of the desert plants seem plain, Dunn said there aren’t any better equipped for the valley.
“They’re not the prettiest plants,” Dunn said. “But if you want sustainability, these are the plants you want.”