Forrest Keeling grows over 97 varieties of seedlings, 122 varieties of RPM® potted liners, 22 species of oaks and 27 varieties of nut trees. We specialize in native plant material. Finished stock includes ornamental shrubs, evergreens, and caliper trees up to 3" in diameter.
Forrest Keeling Yesterday: Our Early Years
Forrest Keeling was founded 60 years ago by Hugh A. Steavenson. Steavenson, then manager of the U.S. Soil Conservation Nursery in Elsberry, began to grow a variety of species in the backyard of his father-in-law, Dr. Forrest Keeling.
Because of Dr. Keeling's love of gardening, the Nursery was named for the Elsberry physician. Steavenson's fledgling operation became a full-time operation on a 22-acre tract north of Elsberry and has grown to embrace 1,000 acres of prime agricultural ground south of Elsberry.
Although Forrest Keeling's rural location dictated its beginning as a retail mail-order nursery, rapid growth shifted emphasis to wholesale business and retail trade in the garden center only.
And Forrest Keeling's single greatest impact on the landscape and nursery industry was yet to occur.
Origination of RPM®
Thanks to Wayne Lovelace, trees can yield twice the results in half the time!
Wayne Lovelace is the developer of the Root Production Method (RPM®) plant production system. He has worked closely with conservation and private organizations to develop ways to utilize root production method technology in wetland restoration. Wayne is President and CEO of Forrest Keeling Nursery and a past president of the Wholesale Growers of America, Western Association of Nurserymen, Missouri Association of Nurserymen and Eastern Region I.P.P.S.
During his distinguished career, Wayne has been honored by many organizations and government agencies. In 2011, the Missouri Conservation Federation honored Wayne with its Forest Conservationist of the Year award. He is also the 2004 recipient of the American Nursery & Landscape Association Hall of Fame Award for his distinguished career and lifetime service. Wayne may be reached at:
Forrest Keeling Nursery
88 Forrest Keeling Lane
P.O. Box 135
Elsberry, MO 63343
Wayne Lovelace, current President and CEO, with Hugh A. Steavenson, FKN founder. circa 1960
Forrest Keeling greatly expanded its RPM® propagation program to ten acres of greenhouses in the early 1990s. Production of a wide range of trees, shrubs, and evergreens is executed in a proprietary multi-step system.
Today's Forrest Keeling specializes in the production of native plant materials of unique quality: deciduous tree and shrub seedlings and RPM® potted tree liners, as well as a full line of garden market and landscape-sized evergreens, trees, shrubs, ground covers and specimen trees.
Forrest Keeling has an annual production of over four million seedlings, liner and transplant in more than 200 species. This production is efficiently and economically shipped from our central U.S. location to 49 states, and across borders to Canada and countries of Europe and Asia.
It is Forrest Keeling Nursery's mission to provide our customer with consistent, high quality plant materials, top-notch service and technical assistance to insure our products will continue to perform beyond expectations. The nursery has a stable work force of about 60 employees.