"Growing trees is as much an art as it is a science." - Becky Thomas
"When you plant a tree, you plant a legacy," - Pepper Provanzano
"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Arbor Day is coming up Friday, April 29! We have a busy tree planting schedule over the next week to celebrate the occasion! We invite you to join us at any one of these local schools for our 8th annual Arbor Day Celebration.  Our first one was today at Gardner Grade School – the kids had fun planting a Maple.  Next week we will be planting at ICS Grade School in Morris on Tuesday, Saratoga Grade School in Morris & Dwight Grade School on Wednesday, Coal City & Braceville Grade Schools on Thursday, and Mazon & Seneca Grade Schools on Friday. Come join in the fun or have a tree planting of your own!  Here is a video of some of our Arbor Day plantings over the years… ENJOY!

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.


Spring is a season of new beginnings – out in the landscape, in our own businesses, & in the Green Industry. We recently planted our new crop of liners in the field, and it was a great few days for several reasons.

First, we planted a beautiful crop of trees from some great suppliers!  We work with J.Frank Schmidt Nursery, Carlton Plants, & John Holmlund Nursery – all terrific growers that do a great job producing quality trees.  We planted some new trees in the nursery this year that we are excited to try out like Hot Wings Tatarian Maple, Celebration Maple, Emerald City Tulip Tree, Exclamation London Planetree, Street Keeper Honeylocust, Heritage Oak, Kindred Spirit Oak, Emerald Sunshine Elm, & City Sprite Zelkova.

Second, planting trees in the nursery is a positive look ahead for our business & our customers.  Despite the tough economy the last few years for the green industry, we have worked hard to stay the course & continue to plant new trees every year.  Like everyone, we have made adjustments along the way where we can, but we have not waivered on the quality of the liner stock that we start with or the attention to planting a diverse selection of tree varieties for our customers.  We recently read a terrific article that addresses the problems ahead for our industry written by John Barbour of Boldspring Nursery, a fellow J. Frank Schmidt Nursery customer.  His article titled “Why Tree Prices Will Increase”  gives an excellent account at what nurseries have been facing the last few years & what lies ahead for tree supply & pricing. We are confident that we will be able to supply our customers with what they need in the years to come!

Finally, we love tree planting time because at our nursery it is truely a team effort! When we plant, the entire crew & both our families chip in to get the job done. Becky’s Dad drives the tree planter & her Mom makes everyone lunch. Becky’s brother Chris delivers trees to the planter & shoots great video (thanks Chris!). Even our kids help out – in this picture Joey is riding along helping Jamie check tree depth as the trees pass through the planter.  We feel a great deal of pride knowing that every tree planted at our nursery was planted by us, a great team of employees, & a terrific family of support.

So that’s why we like spring at the nursery -not only is it a new beginning for a new crop of trees, but it is also a fresh start for a new season. We hope you have a great spring in your business!


We are getting ready here for Arbor Day 2011. Once again, we will be celebrating in local grade schools by educating kids about the benefits of trees & enlisting their help to plant one at their school.  Here is a link to the flyer the kids will receive this year teaching them about the good work their tree will do for their environment.

Arbor Day Celebration 2011

We hope that you will join us & plant a tree this Arbor Day in your community!

Digging season is officially underway! The ground is in perfect shape right now for digging, and the temps are in the perfeect range.  We will be digging for the next month or so, so now is the time to shore up your spring orders while our digging window is open!  We will begin our spring shipping & loading soon once we get some trees out of the ground.  Once again, we will be digging an extra supply of trees to last throughout the season until fall when we can dig again.

We also started receiving our new liners this week. Once they are all in, we will take to the fields for planting. Spring is a great time to visit the nursery & see how things are done. We invite you to come out & tag or visit anytime – just give us a call!

Happy Spring!

A QR code is a 2-D barcode that can be scanned by a smart phone’s camera to transfer information. Based on the type of code it is, it can direct the viewer to a website, make a phone call, deliver a vCard (contact info), or more.  We are using our new custom QR code on the back of our wholesale catalog to automatically take wholesale customers to our most recent availability. We plan to keep our availability updated weekly. To easily access our availability from your smart phone on the go, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Download a QR Code Reader App onto your smart phone (there are hundreds of free apps – just browse & choose one you like).
  2. Scan the code with your smart phone.
  3. The app will take you instantly to our most recent SGN Availability.
  4. For easy repeat access to our availability, either rescan or save the site to your home screen or bookmark it.

We hope that through this new technology, we can provide a handy way for you to access our current availability anytime right from your phone with a simple click!

Here are a couple of ideas for some ways you could use QR Codes in your business this season:

  • Garden Centers could add these to their bench cards for customers to scan to see a cool video on that plant.
  • Landscape Contractors could put them on their trucks for potential clients to scan & be directed to their website.
  • A QR Code could be used in advertising to take buyers to a special sale.
  • A vCard QR Code could be on a business card to instantly add the contact info into a smart phone directory.
  • A tag with a QR Code could be added to trees planted in a park or along the street to show interested community members where the tree was grown or more info about the tree.
  • The possibilities are endless…!

Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions. Even though we have all this new technology around, we still do prefer to talk person to person! 

Our new 2011 Wholesale Catalogs are in hot off the press! If you are on our mailing list, look for your catalog soon in the mail.  We will also include our list of Spring 2011 Specials – you won’t want to miss them!

If you are not on our mailing list or our monthly email list, you can sign up on the website or just give us a call. Spring is just around the corner, and we are looking forward to working with all our customers again this spring. Please give us a call if there is anything we can do to help you get your spring off to the right start with our great tree selections & excellent service!

Here are some more good links from speakers at ANLA Clinic. There are a few more from a few blog posts ago if you scroll down the page.

Water the Bamboo – Greg Bell. www.waterthebamboo.com He gave en excellent keynote presentation & if you are looking for a good book to read this winter, I would recommend this one. You can check out his website for more about his philosophy & story.


Making Cents Blog – Dr. Charlie Hall: Making Cents Blog I linked to this one already, but I just want to keep it in the forefront because there is a great resource of economic info here for our industry.


Marketing & Social Media Info – If you are looking for help in your business with using new technology or marketing ideas, here are some links to presenters that we saw who we very good.  Maybe there is something useful there for you!

Chris Heiler www.landscapeleadership.com

Clarity Connect www.hortmarketing.com

Kathleen Hennessy www.axiomcom.com

Jeff Korhan www.jeffkorhan.com

Kyle Lacy www.getbrandswag.com

John Kennedy www.ishakeitup.com

Those are just a few, but you can find more of a recap at the ANLA Knowledge Center at www.anla.org