Red Fern Farm

A Nursery of Trees and Ideas…

Page Last Updated:  October 31, 2015

  2016 Catalog


Trees/Shrubs/Forbs Available 2016

We are taking deposits now for 2016. Note: we sell out quickly of some stock (pawpaw, chestnuts) so place orders early to guarantee yourself some trees.


We offer high quality, container grown  and bare-rooted seedlings.  The parent trees of all our seedlings produce reliable, high quality crops here in Iowa, or at  similar locations. Most of our trees are well adapted to zones 5 - 7.  We have glowing reports of rapid, vigorous growth with our trees in such sunny places as central Oklahoma and Virginia.  In most cases we have grown these trees from seed on our farm.  They are not coddled, greenhouse plants.  They are ready to be planted in your ground as soon as you receive them.

      You may pick up your seedlings still in their containers at our farm.  (Where is Red Fern Farm?


Nut Trees



Chinese Chestnut (Castanea mollisima)

Chinese chestnuts can be grown just about anywhere with well-drained, slightly acidic soil, from zone 4b through zone 9. Chestnuts are a very high demand, high value crop, both worldwide and in the US. Wholesale prices to growers in the Midwest average over $2.00 per pound; $5.50 per pound for Certified Organic. Well managed trees in the Midwest can average 3,500 - 4,000 pounds per acre by 15 years of age on a  good site.

      They can be easily adapted to a system of production without chemicals or expensive machinery.

      We have seedlings of the very best cultivars available. Although most are “open pollinated”, their most likely pollenizers are other good Chinese cultivars. This greatly increases the likelihood that the seedlings will be as good or  even better than their parents. We fully expect that many new, superior cultivars will result form these seedlings. Below are brief descriptions of our parent trees:


Parent Cultivars

Au Super - Produces the largest sized nut of any commercial quality Chinese cultivar (Extra Large). Cold hardy to at least -26°F, zone 5b. Nut quality is good. May occasionally overbear, producing a smaller sized nut.

Mossbarger – Reportedly the most cold hardy Chinese cultivar (hardy to -40°F, zone 4b and south). Nut size, productivity, and quality similar to Peach and Gideon. A good companion to Luvall’s Monster seedlings in far north locations.

Qing – (pronounced “ching”) Currently the standard for comparison among Chinese chestnuts. Produces an extra large nut with a dark mahogany color, an unusually glossy luster, and exceptional flavor and keeping qualities. Cold hardy to at least -30°F, zone 5b.

Luvall’s Monster - This American hybrid is crossed with good Chinese cultivars to make super cold-hardy seedlings that bear medium to extra large sized, Chinese-type nuts.  Though they can be as much as twice as productive as Chinese chestnuts, they are pollen-sterile, so they need good pollenizers nearby.  Good for zones 5a and southern 4b areas.

Gideon-One of the very best Chinese cultivars, Gideon bears heavy crops of large to extra large nuts reliably in zone 5b and south.


Chinese Chestnut Cultivar Seedling: These seedlings are labeled with the name of the seed parent cultivar. This is particularly important for people who want seedlings for grafting later, and for people who need certain trees for growing in zone 4.


Bare-rooted, Bed-grown Chestnuts - These trees have well developed root systems and require a large hole. We have reports of many flowering one year after planting.  They can be shipped, but only in April.

Potted Chestnuts - Finished in 9 inch pots, these trees allow for quicker planting because they get by with a smaller planting hole. Can be planted spring, summer or fall.


Bare-rooted, Bed-grown cultivar seedlings                Potted cultivar seedlings

1 - 2 feet tall                                                                   12 - 18 inches tall

(available April only)                                           (Available April - Sept. 2016)

1 - 9 trees $8.00 each                                                     1 - 9 trees   $8.50 each

10 - 99 trees $7.50 each                                                   10 - 99 trees   $8.00 each

100 or more $7.00 each                                                   100 or more   $7.50 each


Roots of a bed grown, bare-rooted seedling  chestnut.


Hybrid Hazels

(Send your deposit now! They go fast!)       

The parents of our strain of hazels have produced massive quantities of high quality nuts.   The branches have been bent to the ground by the weight of the nut crop. These seedlings are from an exceptional strain of hybrid hazels developed in Minnesota. They will be ready for planting by early Summer. They will have a strong root system in nine inch deep pots for high survival and rapid growth..

Bare-rooted (available April only) 

 8 - 12 inch tall shrubs in 9 inch pots (Available potted July - Sept. 2016)

$4.50 each  for 1 - 9          

 $4.00 each for 10 or more

Heartnut  (Juglans ailantifolia)

          Heartnut is a genetic mutation of the Japanese walnut. The mutation produces a flattened, Valentine-heart shaped nut which cracks and releases the kernel easily. The kernel is the sweetest and mildest-tasting of all the walnuts. Heartnuts tend to be precocious and heavy bearing, and preliminary indications suggest they may be resistant to Thousand Canker Disease.

Not all heartnut seedlings will grow into trees that produce heartnuts. Many will “revert back to wild type” and produce only the normal Japanese walnut, which is rounded, thick-shelled, difficult to crack, and commercially worthless. It may be necessary to plant several to get a single good one. Quantities are limited

Bare-rooted or Potted seedlings -  $6.00 each

(potted available July-Sept., bare-root April only)




Hardy Northern Pecans  (Carya illinoensis)

 Very cold hardy native Iowa pecans--produce small nuts that will ripen in the North.  Nuts have excellent flavor.  These may be grown for their own nuts, or may be used as rootstock for pecan or hickory cultivars.  Quantities are limited.

Potted seedlings $6.00 each (Available summer 2016)




 Fruit Trees& Bushes

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)   Potted

The pawpaw or “prairie banana” has a 4 - 6 inch long fruit that resembles a green potato, but with a rich banana/mango - like flavor. Demand for fruit exceeds supply. It is hard to believe a fruit with such a wonderful tropical-fruit flavor can grow in Iowa.

A possible future market for the fruit may include the pharmaceutical industry. A chemical found in unripe fruit has proven to be a powerful anti-carcinogen which can not be feasibly produced in the lab. When small, these trees are very fragile and need T.L.C. (including mulch and tree shelter) to get established.

pawpaw fruit

"Improved" Strain - seedlings of outstanding grafted varieties in one gallon pots, pollinized by other grafted trees. Likely to produce high quality fruit. Suited to zones 5 - 7.

                      6 - 12 inches tall seedlings in one gallon pots or bare-rooted    $8.00 each  

(Available potted April-Sept., bare-root April only)                                                            


American Persimmon (Diospiros virginiana)

      The American Persimmon is native to about the southeast 1/2 of the United States. They are hardy to about –30°F. The trees produce abundant crops of 1” - 2” diameter fruits, but only on female trees. Seedlings can not be sexed until they reach about 4’ to 5’ tall (about 3 to 4 years old). The fruits are among the sweetest in the world, and inspired the scientific name for the tree which means “food for the gods”.

                We have seedlings of superior grafted varieties including ‘Yates’, ‘Osage’, and ’Prok’. 


6 - 8 inches tall in one gallon pots  $6.00 each   

(Available potted July-Sept., bare-root April only)

 American persimmon fruit


Grafted Asian Pears

     Asian pears are usually shaped like apples, crunchy like apples, but with a wonderful pear flavor. They usually sell for $1.50 or more per fruit in grocery stores. Asian pears require cross pollination, so at least two varieties are needed for fruit. These varieties are high quality and productive. They're suited to zones 5 - 7.     Nijiseiki, Hosui, Shinko and Korean Giant   


                                    2 foot tall trees in one gallon pots  $20 each 

( email or call for availability)


Grafted European Pears

      European Pears are usually harvested when ‘mature’, but unripe, then stored in refrigeration for a time before being brought out to ripen at room temperature. We will have Williams (Bartlett), Seckel, Staceyville, Gourmet, Magnus and Lucious. A few other varieties may be available in limited quantities. 

 Bare-rooted or 3 gallon pots $20.00 each  (call or email for availability)




Aronia Berry Bushes (Aronia melanocarpa)

       A shrub native to the eastern U.S, with size and growth form like a lilac bush. They are quick to bear very heavy crops of small, dark blue berries resembling blueberries. Aronia berries are extremely high in antioxidants - at least 3 times more than blueberries. These plants will thrive on just about any kind of site: wet or dry, high or low pH, sunny or partial shade. Except for browsing by rabbits and deer, they seem to be unbothered by pests or diseases.

Aronia berry production is a major industry in Europe, where yields reach 40,000 pounds per acre, and 100 pounds per bush. The industry is in its infancy in this country,. This would be a very profitable crop even at $1 per pound, wholesale.

Aronia berries make a wonderful you-pick crop. They have no thorns, they taste bad raw, the berries are tough, hard to crush, they hold onto the bush for weeks after ripening and do not require bending down to the ground. ( see photos of us harvesting our 2011 Aronia berry crop on our Face book page.)

Even people with no intention to grow Aronia commercially should have a couple of bushes, if only for the powerful health benefits of the antioxidants in the berries. We have small one-year old seedlings and large transplants that can bear one year after planting. Available bare-rooted or in pots. Self pollinating.


Prices effective September 1st


1 – 9 bushes

10 – 99

100 – 999









Limited number available  (call or email for availability)


Aronia berry cluster.



Woodland Treasures


Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis)

            Goldenseal is a very high-value woodland medicinal plant, valued for its antiseptic properties.  Recent urban legends (absolutely untrue) attribute goldenseal with the ability to allow a user to pass a drug test that he otherwise would not pass.  No doubt it is this mistaken notion which has led to the high demand and skyrocketing prices for the root of this plant.  Goldenseal is very easy to grow, especially compared to other high value woodland medicinals like ginseng.  Yields of 1000 to 2500 lbs. per acre of root after 3 to 5 years of growth have been reported.  Disease and insect problems are negligible.  Goldenseal prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil in full shade, much like ginseng, but goldenseal will tolerate much more sun.  These plants have been propagated from cuttings taken from our native timber.

$2 per rootlet, or $100 per pound for undivided, mature roots. (spring & fall only)


Companion Plants

Cofrey supressing grass around young tree.

 Russian Comfrey  (Bocking #14, Sterile Hybrid)

This is the Russian comfrey we grow for weed suppression at the base of our trees on our farm. It is vigorous in our climate but does not spread by seed. A small cutting will grow into a plant that will suppress grass and weeds in a 1 ½ foot diameter zone around the rootlet after 2 – 3 years. We now plant 4 rootlets around the base of our new trees. After growing comfrey for 20+ years we can confidently say it does not spread (unless we purposely dig it). Plant rootlets in the loose dirt at the edge of your planting hole, 1 inch deep.

The purple flowers attract pollinators and small children (they are delicious). It is high in nitrogen and protein. It makes an excellent mulch or compost addition. Geese and ducks love it, not so much the rabbits.  We sell by the rootlets or crowns.

 $1 per 1 – 2 inch root cuttings, or $3.00 for Root Crowns

(Available spring to fall)


Ordering Information

Sorry, we can't take your order over the Internet. We can't take credit cards so you need to mail us a check or money order to secure your trees.  Iowa is collecting sales tax on trees that produce food for personal consumption.

Sales Tax Note for Iowa residents: If these trees are being used only for personal use only and you never intend to ever sell their fruit or nuts, you must pay Iowa Sales tax. If you are picking up your trees at our farm or having our trees shipped to your home in Iowa, please add 7% sales tax to your order. If you hope to  sell any part of your trees production, you are exempt from Iowa sales tax and don't need to add it on.

Shipping or Pickup
Potted Trees are available April thru October for pickup from our nursery. We need a 25% deposit to reserve trees for you at our farm.  Orders are filled on a first come, first serve basis. If we have your trees in stock, and the ground is not frozen, you may pick up your trees immediately. If we are sold out of the trees you want, you will have first call on the young seedlings coming into production When you arrive to collect your trees, the balance will be due.  (Where is Red Fern Farm?)
Call to arrange a pickup time so we can be sure to assist you fully in loading the trees and answering any questions you may have.
Shipping for 2016
We have a good selection of trees available to ship bare-rooted in April of 2016. We require full payment for all trees that will be shipped plus shipping charges. Shipping charges will be 17% of your full order with a minimum of $15/order. This will cover our time, packaging plus what we pay the shipper. You can save a lot of money by picking up your trees at our farm. We try to email you when your trees/shrubs are shipped plus any confirmation or shipping numbers we are given.


To place an order:
1.     Print and fill out the following order form.
2.     Mail completed form with payment to:

Red Fern Farm

13882 I Ave
Wapello, IA 52653
Click Here for our Order Form

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