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Need some advice of a tree farm

Discussion in 'Nurseries and Growers' started by gravelyman50, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. gravelyman50

    gravelyman50 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    hello, i am currently in the lawn care and landscaping industry and my father in law has ten acres that he currently has leased out to farmers and he said we could start a nusery on the property if i wanted to.

    What i am mainly interested in is growing a bunch of differnet varieties of pine and shade trees, even some ornamental trees but mainly want to sell 6' and up. 2-3" caliper trees and up. And i do realize this is going to be a llloooong wait to get some return money wise considering the trees will take at least 5 maybe 7 years before they can even be dug and sold. There is a creek that constanly runs water in the back of property so thats not a problem.

    I guess my question is where do i buy my pines and shade trees? Is there a good place online they you guys order from? I am new to the nusery thing and have a lot to learn, but am willing to.
    JLSLLC likes this.
  2. allinearth

    allinearth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 614

    How do you plan to dig them? A spade and skid steer will be a lot of expense for a 10 acre tree farm.
    JLSLLC likes this.
  3. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

  4. OP

    gravelyman50 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    I planned on getting a bobcat with a spade.. Do you not think 10 acres is not big enough for a farm? im not tring to sell thousands of trees a year, maybe 100-200 year.
  5. allinearth

    allinearth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 614

    I may be wrong but it seems like a lot of equipment to be purchased for only 10 acres. Unless you plan to use the skid quite a bit for landscaping. If it was me I would maybe put a pencil to pot in pot or see if I could hire someone to do the digging.
  6. Tuley

    Tuley LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4

    Get a plan, put it on paper, STICK TO THE PLAN.

    Grow what you will use on your jobs, and sell the rest, Learn what you can grow and buy what you cant, increase you inventory every year, but only if you use and or sell everything you can grow.

    You might decide you want to grow flowering shrubs instead of trees. You might decide on bareroot liners instead of finished material (quicker turn)!

    Stick with your PLAN
    JLSLLC likes this.
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,036


    Understand Tree Farming is a long term proposition that takes money. Unlike annuals that turn cash flow in 30 days, Tree can take several years for the first sale. Force growing trees makes them weak and if you cut off the heavy fertilizer with out weening back you throw the tree in to shock. This is important when selling a tree to a client who does not know how to care for a tree.

    In edit let me add Tree selection and planting grid are important in order to fully use your ground. Planting very large growing tree so smaller trees can be grown in between is important. I would contact your State Forest Dept as well as your Land Grand University for more information
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
    JLSLLC likes this.
  8. Dtreefarm

    Dtreefarm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    We started a tree farm in 2000. Count on a full seven years at least with pine and spruce for a sale in that size.

    We bought most of our seedlings from www.cliftyview.com A local nursery with quality stock of many varieties. We also bought plug seedlings from a university forestry extension. Those plugs were the best seedlings I had ever put in the ground.

    Do not over fertilize. Keep the weeds down for the first few years as they REALLY hinder seedling growth and shape. This can be done by tillage, spraying and picking by hand. There is also a host of bugs and fungus and some molds you will have to monitor for also....:)

    Its a long term deal.... And with the turn in the market that happened a few years back, just as we had big, beautiful spruce for sale we LEASED out all the digging instead of buying the equipment ourselves. Its not easy deal but when other things fell off, the trees kept us going.
  9. milanis

    milanis LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    We started out with 4-1/2 ac the first year and added another 6 ac over the next couple of years. Most important lesson? Weed control. Next? Don't pick varieties to grow that there's not an established strong market to sell into. Often we pick some that are "interesting" to us, but forget that others need to be educated and sold on their benefits. Not a good idea.

    If you're planting at a rate of 600-700 trees per acre, you'll end up with about 5,000 trees on that ten acres by the time you've subtracted out work space, etc. If you spread the harvest of those over 5-6 years, as you will need to in order to re-grow replacements, you'll be digging about 800-1,000 tree per year. At that level you will NEED your own spade, not relying on someone else's schedule to dig for you. In fact, even a couple hundred per year will demand your own equipment for the sake of economy and convenience.

    Once you're at that point, I would suggest you go to treenurserytools.com for a good discussion of what you'll need.

    Lastly, your cash outflow will not be substantial (as long as you do your own work) with seedling purchases and weed control (chemicals like Oust, Poast, and Pendulum), until you reach the point of needing the skid steer and tree spade.

    Good luck!
  10. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,452

    They do make tree planters. A guy in my church rented one from a local county extention do plant about 40 acres of hardwoods.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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