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what should I look for in a nursery?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mikeslawn, Apr 26, 2000.

  1. mikeslawn

    mikeslawn LawnSite Member
    from florida
    Messages: 18

    I have a couple of costumers and one friend that wants some plant instals done. I have a basic knowledge of plants a pretty good eye for what looks good in a landscape. The customers are pretty much dictating what they want and where but are allowing me to make suggestions. The friend is dictating a little bit but also wants to add some type of color in front of some apartments that they own. Since I am going to school for ornemental horticulture they want to help me out and give me some practice on designing and installing landscapes. They are giving me full reign on what i want to do and if make some mistakes they said it will be alright and will allow me to fix them. <br> I also work with my my father doing landscape maintenance but we want to expand the business into landscaping also. We have many nurseries around where I live there are four within five miles of my house and many more beyond that. I would like to find one to develope a business relationship with for this work and also for the future. What should I look for in a nursery? Please tell me about the nurseries that you are dealing with and what you look for I would apreciate this. thank you.
  2. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    Hello,<p>I would look for a few things. First of all, quality of plants. I'm not sure if when you say 'nursery' you mean a grower or a garden center, so I'll be a little general. Look at the plants and the quality of the material. Some nurseries around me have 'organic' plants that they grow themselves that look very 'woody'. Others carry plants that look absolutely beutiful, but they seem to die after a year in the ground (the plants come from down south and I don't think they can adjust to the North)<p>Also, look at variety. If you develop your install business, you will start needing a large selection of materials. A nursery that can supply a large percent of what you need is most convenient. Look for one that carry's many diff't sizes and large quantities of each. <p>To be honest, not 1 nursery will be able to supply all your needs. As you get more involved, you will start finding that you will have to go to several diff't nurseries to locate all the materials you will need. Some may carry a large portion, but it is rare to find everything you need at just one. Also, you will start seeing that some nurseries carry better lines of certain plants, and will want to go to seperate ones to get the best material.<p><br>Finally, a business account should be able to be set up. You should be able to first get a contractor discount on the materials and second of all be able to get the materials billed to a account, usually due at the end of the month. A big help for cash flow, especially when the material's list gets large. <p>A last thing is with other supplies. Look for places that not only sell plants, but pavers, stone, seed, etc. Again, a great convenience. <p>Hope to have been of some help.<p>steveair
  3. Starling Lawn

    Starling Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    steveair was correct in his reply.i just want to add is make sure they deliver at a nominal cost,this can be very handy if you have a large amount of plant material going to an install.and you can bill the delivery charge back to the customer.<br>hope this helps dave
  4. mikeslawn

    mikeslawn LawnSite Member
    from florida
    Messages: 18

    Thanks for the information. Steveair what I was talking about is &quot;growers&quot;. There are countless small and large nurseries around here. There is also many wholesale nurseries the ones that would sell to walmart, home depot, even the roadside &quot; garden centers&quot;. All the ones down here deal with production but also sell to contracters and the general public. Any other information would be apprieciated. Thanks again.
  5. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    Hello again,<p>If they are growers my only concern would be time. I have gone to growers before and have gotten very nice material, however, because they aren't really focussed on selling retail, you can spend a lot of time there. What I mean by this is that you may go there and spend hours just loading up.<p>The growers are busy taking care of their plants. When you get there, you usually have to drive around to find someone, then when you do, have then get equipment to load you, maybe have to go through a acre of material to find one plant, and then have to have them figure out how to bill you. <p>If they aren't set up to deal with you, then maybe you will need to call ahead of time or stop in ahead of time and have them pull the materials you want. That way you aren't spending hours just trying to pick up a tree. It sounds kind of simple, but after a while, it gets real tiring. Also, if you are paying employees to pick up plants, you are paying them for a lot of 'sitting around' time when they could be working making you money. <p>I would look into the ability of the growers to serve you in a timely manner, which many can do.<p>steveair
  6. steven Bousquet

    steven Bousquet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    we like to buy from growers and they can take time to load so it takes a good size order,but most will deliver orders over 500. we buy alot of plants and have a holding area at the grower and then we have our own holding area at the shop. look for well watered plants that rewet easy.
  7. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    I would also look for a few other things:<p>Have someone from the nursery/grower take you on a tour - any place worth it's salt would be more than happy to brag about it's place. You'll want to see well-cared-for materials with good form, other things...Plus, you'll be able to ask more questions on the tour and get a good feel for the place.<p>How long have they been in the business? Multi-generational ones seem to be really good.<p>What quantities will they have mid-season? Too many have good quality stock until about May 1. After that it's slim pickens the rest of the season.<p>What geographic area do they serve? In other words, do they grow the plants that grow well in your locale, or do they have massive houses where they grow and sell to warmer climes?<p>How much do they grow vs how much they purchase (especially out-of-state). For me in Wisconsin, this is important. Something that's supposed to be hardy here but was raised in CA may not do so well here.<p>Hope this helps.
  8. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    we have a hard time locating growers that root prune, plants especially Pines. Also checked the type of soil the plants are grown in it should match your local conditions. I see a lot growers who in order to get better growth growing extremely deep topsoil them the plants are placed in clay soils. This makes it very difficult for the plant material to thrive.<p>----------<br>paul<br>
  9. mikeslawn

    mikeslawn LawnSite Member
    from florida
    Messages: 18

    Thanks for the information. I have another question I hope everyone can help me out with. I will start another post.

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