"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

Do you ever wonder how the nursery growing process works?

Becky Thomas was recently asked to present at the Tree City USA Annual Conferences for both Northern IL & Central/Southern IL Tree City USA communities.  

The requirements to be a Tree City or Tree Campus USA are very extensive so all of the award winning communities & campuses should be commended for their efforts to make their urban forests more healthy. We were very proud to see many of our municipal customers represented at the awards!

Becky’s presentation was a snapshot of how trees are grown in a nursery & the timeline of the process.  Here is a copy of her powerpoint presentation “From the Ground Up”

FROM THE GROUND UP, The Nursery Tree Production Process

 Click here to learn more about Tree City USA


Plant Some Diversity This Spring!

At Spring Grove Nursery, we are committed to the health of urban forests in our local communities.  Planting a diverse selection of trees can reduce the threat of pests & diseases that target specific tree species, such as the Emerald Ash Borer beetle which kills Ash trees. We created a document  to help customers select good shade tree alternatives to Ash in the landscape.  We promote planting a diverse selection of trees in any project & this resource can be helpful in the decision process.

For a complete list of the diversity we grow at our nursery, check out our SGN Species Diversity List which can always be found on our Availability page of our website.   We are also proud to be digging several new tree varieties this spring!

To learn more about trees, attend the Pro-Hort Symposium coming up on Mar 18 in Peoria.  At the event, you can learn some valuable info about trees or visit our booth for more. We are proud to be a sponsor & hope to see you there!

Please call us anytime with questions on selecting the best trees for your projects.  We are happy to help! If new tree planting projects use a diverse palatte of trees, the landscape will thrive & flourish for many years to come!

The talk of the industry right now is centered on the tree shortages starting to be felt across the country.  We have some great links below to read more about this important topic.  

As mentioned above, Becky Thomas will be part of an OGA panel of growers tackling this very issue.  As part of the panel, Becky will be presenting a 5 minute intro on the “state of the nursery industry” and why tree shortages are ahead.  Here is a link to her report:

OGA State of the Nursery Industry Presentation

At Spring Grove Nursery, we feel it is important to communicate what is going on in our fields so that we can best serve our customers from year to year.  Because we are a small nursery, we have been fortunate enough to continue to line out new trees every spring. Along with planting for the future, we have continued to care for our crops in the field so that the quality & health of our trees has never been compromised. We feel it is important for our customers to trust that we are doing all we can to make sure our trees have the quality & consistency our customers have come to expect from our nursery.

It says on our website, “By growing trees, we are given the opportunity to partner with great people in this industry.” We truly believe that statement and we are very thankful for the terrific relationships that we have built with our customers. We appreciate the trust you have placed in us as your grower, and we look forward to working with you again this season!

The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus announced another round of federal grant money is available to municipalities to fight the devastating effects of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Three different grants are available to communities, a Restoration Grant to assist in tree replanting, a Technical Assistance Grant to assist in preparing a tree inventory & management plan, and a Wood Utilization Grant.

We have reviewed the grant documents, and this looks like a terrific opportunity for communities within the IL Dept. of Ag quarantine zone, as well as the landscape contractors, nurseries, & tree care companies that partner with these communities.  We are well positioned to help our customers get these federal dollars at work in our communities.

Application & Grant guidelines can be found at:


There will also be two workshops to assist applicants:

  • January 17, 10am – Noon at Illinois Department of Agriculture, 2280 Bethany Rd., Suite B, DeKalb, IL 60115. Call 815-787-5479 for reservations and parking directions
  • January 22, 10am –Noon at Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, 233 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 800, (Willis Tower) Chicago, IL  60606

For reservations for the Chicago workshop or general grant program information contact Edith Makra, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus:  emakra@mayorscaucus.org or 312-201-4506.

Spring Grove Nursery can help communities meet the requirements of this grant program.  We offer a diverse selection of species as outlined in the grant. The grant also requires all new trees to come from an IL Dept of Ag certified nursery, and we hold that certification.  In addition, we also hold an EAB Compliance Agreement.  All grants must first be reviewed & approved by an ISA Certified Arborist. Jamie Thomas is certified, and he can assist small communities that do not have their own Certified Arborist on staff.

The deadline for all grant applications is Feb 1, 2013. Please call us if you would like assistance in preparing your grant application.

We are proud at Spring Grove Nursery to be leading the way in helping communities grow their urban forest in a healthy & responsible manner.  Planting a diverse selection of trees into the landscape will lead to an urban forest canopy that will flourish in any community for many years. 

At the nursery, we have the expertise available to help communities make good choices in their new plantings.  We also have a diverse & superior selection of trees from which to choose. To help communities get started, we put together a short list of trees which we like to think of as our “Grower’s Choice” Trees.  Please note that it is important when planting new trees in your community to use no more that 10-15% of the same species in your project.  Also take into consideration the existing trees already growing so that more of the same species are not over-planted. 

Click on this link to our “Grower’s Choice” Trees for a complete list of some excellent tree varieties that we recommend. If you need help with selecting trees for your fall projects, please do not hesitate to contact us!

With the drought in our region, it is imperative that trees planted within the last 3 years get watered every week.  If you are able to water established trees, they will greatly benefit from some water as well.

We recently read a fantastic article put out by the Alliance for Community Trees, an organizaton we are proud to support.  The article highlights how several communities are dealing with the drought & the effects on the urban canopy.  Here are some links to the communities referenced in the article:

“Unrelenting Drought Takes Toll on Nation’s Urban Trees” by Alliance for Community Trees

“How Croudsourcing is Helping Water 10,000 Trees in Chicago” by Treehugger.com

“Parched parkway trees could use a drink” by Chicago Tribune

“Drought taking a toll on Indiana’s trees, could last until October” by Indystar.com

“Rockford Park District begins tree hydration program” by Rockford Register Star

US Drought Monitor

Drought Could Have Lasting Effect On Trees” by Hoosier Ag Today

“Bucket Brigade Struggles to Save Trees Planted After Joplin, MO Tornado” by Alliance for Community Trees

The photo we used in this article is from the Morton Arboretum.  If you click it, you will come to a page they put together about watering trees. Let’s hope now for a wet & rainy future!



Obviously we love trees here at the nursery, and we take every opportunity to promote their value & importance to our communities.  We recently ran across an interesting article brought to us by the Alliance for Community Trees.  It is titled “The Quick 10: 10 Trees that Changed the World.”  

Here’s the list at a glance:

  • Walt Disney’s Dreaming Tree
  • Anne Franks’s Horsechestnut Tree
  • Isaac Newton’s Apple Tree
  • Wall Street Buttonwood Tree
  • Revolutionary War Mercer Oak
  • Geneseo Big Tree – Treaty of Big Tree
  • Royal Oak
  • Queen Elizabeth Oak
  • Tree of Hippocrates

Take a look at the article link below – it’s pretty cool…

The Quick 10: 10 Trees that Changed the World