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Tree Planters' Notes - Guidelines for Authors

Editorial Policy

Tree Planters' Notes (TPN) is a journal dedicated to technology transfer and publication of information relating to nursery production and outplanting of trees and shrubs for reforestation, restoration, and conservation. TPN welcomes manuscripts on any subject within the scope of the journal. TPN is published twice annually (Spring and Fall). Examples of past issues can be viewed at the Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetics Resources website: https://www.RNGR.net/publications/tpn.

Submitting Articles

Send electronic files by e-mail to TPN's editor: Andrea Watts (andrea.watts@rngr.net). To be considered for the Spring issue, submissions must be received by October 1 of the preceding year. To be considered for the Fall issue, submissions must be received by April 1 of the same year. Following review and edits, any necessary revisions should be returned to the editor in a timely manner. Page proofs sent after layout must be proofread carefully and returned promptly with any necessary corrections.


As you prepare your manuscript, review recently published issues of TPN. A look at published TPN papers is extremely useful to see examples of formatting and style and to get ideas for content, headings, and figures. (https://www.rngr.net/publications/tpn)

Manuscripts must be in Microsoft Word and must be PC compatible. Text should be single-spaced. Refrain from special formatting other than bold or italic for headings (e.g., do not use cross references formatting, do not add line numbering, etc.). Note: modern, proportionate fonts no longer require double spacing after each period or colon.

After the manuscript title, list the complete name(s), title(s), affiliation(s), city(ies), and state(s) of the author(s). Include a brief abstract (approximately 150 words) followed by the text (use appropriate headings and subheadings as needed), address for corresponding author, acknowledgments (if any), references, figure captions, and tables. Total length of the paper should not exceed 6,000 words.

Create tables using the Table feature in Word; do not format tables with tabs or the space bar. Include tables at the end of the manuscript. Tables should be logical and understandable without reading the text. Each table needs a clear and concise caption. Tables should be numbered consecutively (table 1, table 2, table 3, etc.) and each should be referred to in the text.

Illustrations, charts, maps, graphs, and photos are all considered figures.

→ Each figure must be submitted as separate, individual files; DO NOT EMBED IN THE TEXT!
Digital photos must be at least 300 dpi and should be in a standard format such as JPG, TIF, or EPS. Simple graphics can be submitted via Word, PDF, JPG, or TIF and will be professionally re-done during layout.

All figures must be numbered consecutively (figure 1, 2, 3, etc.) and referred to in the text. At the end of the manuscript, include a list of clear, thorough figure captions. Captions should be complete sentences and provide some detail beyond a simple label. Captions should make each figure understandable without reading the text. For graphics adapted from previously published works, include a citation in the caption. For photos, indicate the name and affiliation of the photographer and the year the photo was taken (if known).


TPN uses the spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, and other styles recommended in the United States Government Printing Office Style Manual, as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Please keep titles concise and descriptive; include subheadings and bulleted material to help readability. As a general rule of clear writing, use the active voice (e.g., write "Nursery managers know..." and not, "It is known...").

  • Use numerals when referring to money, time, and measurement and for all numbers above 10.
  • Abbreviate all units, except those with no numerical value (for example, "results are provided in parts per million" in contrast to "only 0.05 ppm was effective").
  • Provide both English and metric units for all values.
  • Nomenclature – Use common names of organisms, if available, in the title, abstract, and text. At first mention of a species in the abstract and in the text, provide the scientific name with authority in parentheses, e.g., western redcedar (Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don). The taxonomic standard for USDA publications is the online PLANTS database (https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov/home).


List citations in the text alphabetically by author. For citations with one of two authors, provide last names for each author. For citations with more than two authors, list the first author only followed by "et al." For example: (Carson et al. 2012, González and Torres 2001, MacDonald and Haase 1984, Tanaka 1998, Williams et al. 2019). Separate citations with a comma unless citing more than one publication by the same author; when that occurs, use a semi-colon (for example, Lee et al. 2009, 2013; Jackson 2012).

  • In the references section, list references alphabetically by author, then by date, with oldest first. When there are multiple articles by the same author, list first those articles with one author only, oldest first; then list articles with two authors, and so on, alphabetically by second author, oldest first. Include the full list of authors for each reference (i.e., do not truncate by using "et al.").
  • For journal articles, use the full journal name, rather than the abbreviated version.
  • For meeting proceedings, follow the date and location of the meeting with the city of publication and publishing body. If the proceedings are a part of a Government publication series, put that information after the publishing body.
  • For online resources, provide the URL and the month accessed.

Example References

(NOTE: please also refer to recently published issues of TPN to view formatting.)

Journal article:
Graham, J.S.; Joyner, P.A. 2011. Tree planting in Alaska. Tree Planters' Notes. 54(2): 4-11.
Entire book:
Pallardy, S.G. 2008. Physiology of woody plants. 3rd ed. Burlington, MA: Academic Press. 454 p.
Chapter in book:
Goorahoo, D.; Sharma, F.C.; Adhikari, D.D.; Benes S.E. 2011. Soil-water-plant relations. In: Stetson, L.E.; Mecham, B.Q., editors. Irrigation. 6th ed. Falls Church, VA: Irrigation Association: 23-73. Chapter 3.
Article in proceedings:
Dumroese, R.K.; Jacobs, D.F.; Davis, A.S.; Pinto, J.R.; Landis, T.D. 2007. An introduction to subirrigation in forest and conservation nurseries and some preliminary results of demonstrations. In: Riley, L.E.; Dumroese, R.K.; Landis, T.D., tech. coords. National proceedings, forest and conservation nursery associations––2006. Proceedings RMRS-P-50. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 20–26.
Thesis or dissertation:
Akgul, A. 2004. Performance of slash pine (Pinus elliotti engelm) containerized rooted cuttings and bare-root seedlings established on five planting dates in the flatlands of western Louisiana. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University. 91 p. Ph.D. dissertation.
Online resource:
Bardon, R.E.; Megalos, M.A.; New, B.; Brogan, S., eds. 2010. North Carolina's forest resources assessment: a statewide analysis of the past, current and projected future conditions of North Carolina's forest resources. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Forest Resources. 489 p. http://www.ncforestassessment.com. (January 2011).

Release Authorization

With the exception of federal employees, all authors must sign a release to allow their work to be in the public domain and on the World Wide Web. In addition, all photos and illustrations require a written release by the photographer or illustrator. The author, photo, and illustration release forms are available from the Editor. Authors are furnished copies of the issue in which their article appears. We do not provide reprints, but this publication may be reproduced without permission. When reproducing, please include the name of the author(s) and the volume and issue of Tree Planters' Notes.