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Wholesale Nursery Questions

Discussion in 'Nurseries and Growers' started by iMow2010, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. iMow2010

    iMow2010 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    I am looking into starting a small wholesale nursery and have a few questions. I currently own and operate a lawn care/landscaping business, but previously worked a retail/wholesale nursery and am looking to expanding into tree growing. I know some plant background and have adequate land our family owns 60 acres, of which approx. 25 is easily plantable.

    Tree Liners:

    Does anybody have any experience buying seedlings online? If so, where from? I have looked at TN Nursery and their prices seem to be competitive. Or should I spend a little more and buy local?

    What is the best size to buy? Is there a less chance of survival the older the bare-root (i.e. 12-18" vs. 3-4')?

    What to Plant:

    Any recommendations on the best starter tree? Something that has good value but easy to maintain and high success rate.

    How long can an ornamental tree be expected to take to fully grow to time of sale? Also, what is generally the size (height/caliper) of a tree ready for market?

    How do you plan for crop rotation? Do you divide your land into 5 or 6 sections and plant equivalently in succession years to ensure a harvest each year?

    I am looking to start small, anywhere from 200-600 trees to begin with and then expand from there if it works well. Any information you can provide is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance
  2. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    I am in Florida and can only tell you how we do it. First I will talk about Field Grown compared to Container grown material.

    Field grow hardwood trees will have a wider canopy and a lower change of survivable when transplanted. Container grown sell for a tad more and have a 99% transplant survival but don't have a wide canopy. Most Code Trees are require to be 2 or 3 inch caliber.

    Here Palms are big and there are many different types. Planting are spaced so smaller varieties are planted between bigger ones.

    a Heavy wire is stretched between two or more posts as supports for Container grown Trees. The Tree trunks are then loose tied to that wire to keep from falling over. Drip irrigation is run directly under that wire with spaghetti tubes to each container.

    Fertigation or Fertilizer is used in great excess to force grow these trees. But not unlike a humans, you don't cut a fat girls food supply all of a sudden. Force grown trees should be weened off of fertilizer. If you sell a tree without weening it, It will show decline quicky when transplanted.

    It has been a while since I got out of the Nursery business so I am forgetting more about Growing that I remember right now.
    JLSLLC likes this.
  3. iMow2010

    iMow2010 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11


    Thanks for the response. I am not particularly interested in container grown at this time, however it is a definite possibility for the future. Being that im in PA, the growing season is a bit different than that of Florida lol.

    My previous nursery experience was with field grown and that is what i am most comfortable with. Im also trying to keep the initial investment down as well, and container stock appears to be more expensive to grow.

    Thanks again for the info
  4. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 16,992

    Im interested.
    I was thinking of going to the Gulf and buying a bunch of plants and reselling them.
    JLSLLC likes this.
  5. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    I never said you had to do it the Florida way. Field Grown has it's advantages. Field Grown is less expensive in Labor Material and Irrigation. Field grown Trees have bigger and better canopies


    I got started in the nursery business Buy & Sell. then I went Buy & Bump. That is buying one gallons or liner and steping them up. Hurricane Charlie wiped out my Nursery and I never rebuild. Maybe just as good because with the Down turn of the economy I would have gone broke like many other have. If and when the Economy turns around wholesale supplier of Plants can be a good business. You need a big truck because margins are low but Volume is high.

    A mist house to do liners can be a good start because of the quick turn around or cash flow. I am cloning No mow Ground covers as replacement for turf. Once again this is a low margin but high volume market.
    JLSLLC likes this.

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