"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

From our family to yours… we hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and a very healthy & happy new year!

We would like to thank all our customers for choosing us as their grower this past year. We really appreciate the trust you have placed in us, and we value your friendship & loyalty.  In addition, we would like to thank our suppliers & business associates for their support & expertise. We are very lucky to work with such great partners in the Green Industry!

 

We were lucky to get out to Oregon at the beginning of December to visit our supplier nurseries! We had great tours at J. Frank Schmidt Nursery, Carlton Plants, Robinson Nursery, & Kuenzi Nursery. It was exciting to get out into their fields for a change & see what is coming on and soon to be shipped to us in the coming years.

Our tour at J. Frank Schmidt was, as always, top notch! We got to tour both of their farms at Hood Acres & Barlow. At Hood acres, we were shown their propagation facility, seedling beds, greenhouses, container yard, B&B fields, and some liner fields as well. We even got to take a rainy stroll through the Schmidt Family Arboretum. Thanks to Nancy Buley & David Sheline for an excellent tour & hospitality! We took some great video which we will share soon in another post. 

We value our relationship with Schmidt because they are really the leaders in new varietal development. We got to see many of these new trees in production at the Barlow farm to the south. Frank Jr. & Derek gave us the grand tour of the farm and showed us many new vareities in the pipeline at Schmidt. We got to see first hand some digging & grading. Many of those trees will be coming our way in March 2016.  Thanks to all the folks at J. Frank Schmidt Nursery for some great tours!

Our time at Carlton Plants was equally impressive! Jason Bizon gave us an excellent tour of their tissue culture lab and their fields. This was our first tour of their new lab, and it was a real treat to see. We learned so much, and we were very impressed with the overall vision of Carlton Plants to make the investment in that area of their operation.  We also got out into their field to see many of our trees in various stages of growth. They too were in the middle of digging & grading. We learned about their grading standards & saw first hand the attention to detail that Carlton Plants is so well know for.  Thanks Jason, Jon, & Michelle for your time & hospitality while we were at Carlton!

At Robinson Nusery, we got to see their nursery in action as well. They have a great line of container trees grown in air pots. Ther trees get an excellent root system on them. We were happy to see a new line of some larger trees in the works for the future. They treated us to a great lunch at one of their favorite local spots. Thanks Josh & Chris for your gracious hospitality!

Myron Kuenzi was a great host at Kuenzi Turf & Nursery. Myron has a terrific product line of trees grown in root bags. We have had great success with his trees here in our field. After going through his nursery, we know why. He has a great growing method & obviously knows how to produce a quality tree – on top & below the ground! 

Other nursery highlights were a tour of Northwest Shade Trees by Martin. What a fantastic nursery! They grow finished trees similar to ours. We were able to see many of the J. Frank Schmidt varieties in a larger size there so it was a valuable learning experience for us. Plus Martin is an excellent grower, so we had much to learn from him as well. Thanks Martin for taking some time out of your busy day to show us your fields!

Just to highlight what everyone really wants to know… here are some upcoming trees we discovered on our travels & are thinking about adding to our mix:  Swedish Columnar Aspen, Starlight Crabapple, Purple Spire Crabapple, Main Street Maple, Sensation Maple, Green Whistper Bald Cypress, Javelin Pear, Metro Gold Maple… just a few new ones that caught our eye!

While in Oregon, we had to take advantage of some of the sights. We had a few fun days in Portland while also finding time to get out of the city & into the landscape. We hiked around the Columbia River Gorge area & took in the many beautiful sights & waterfalls there! We also made our way out to the coast for a windy & rainy view of the Pacific. Oregon is a beautiful state & we would recommend a visit!

Overall, our visit to our partner nurseries in Oregon was an invaluable experience for us. We came away from the trip with the sastisfaction of knowing that we have partnered with some great people in this businesses. The nurseries that we work with are top-notch. Their quality is the best there is in this business. But as with any business, they are only as good as the people who run them. Besides being excellent growers, all of our partners are great people with great employees. Many of the people we met on our tours have been with these nurseries for their whole career. That really says alot about the quality of these companies – quality plants & quality people. We are blessed to be in the business of growing trees, but we are even more blessed to grow some great relationships with awesome people!

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We had an exciting day a few weeks ago on our family farm!

A delegation from Taiwan came with both the IL Soybean & Corn Associations to tour our farm. In addition to our nursery, Becky’s family has a corn & soybean operation operated by her brother.

We hosted the delegation of about 50 Taiwanese for a farm tour & lunch.  Afterwards Governor Rauner came to sign a trade agreement between the state of Illiniois & Taiwan government.

Although the Governor wasn’t there to talk about trees, it was still a unique experience for the nursery. It was great day for Illinois farm families, especially ours!

RaunerVisit

Fall digging will be in full swing next week! The evergreen digging will wrap up mid October, but deciduous digging will continue as long as the weather allows.  Now is the perfect time to get your fall order in so we can get you the trees you need in a timely manner.

We are already tagging trees for spring orders.  The tree supply will continue to be tight  this next season, so we encourage you to place your orders for next season as soon as possible.  Early ordering will insure we get you the size & variety you are looking for without having to substitute.

Pictured here are some Swamp White Oaks.  We think Oaks really shine in the fall. Their texture stands out in the landscape whether it’s their foliage, bark, or acorns.  Oaks are always at risk for fall digging. We dug extra in the spring so that we would have them above ground in the fall but our supply is quickly running out! Other trees at risk for fall digging are Pear, Birch, Hawthorn, & Redbud.  We have these beautiful specimens available above ground:

  • White Oak 3.5″
  • Crimson Spire Oak 4″
  • River Birch 12′
  • Thornless Cocksur Hawthorn 2.5″ & 10′
  • Aristocrat & Trinity Pear 3.0-3.5″
  • Eastern Redbud 8′

We invite you to stop by this fall for a nursery tour. It’s a great time to see the variety & texture trees offer in the fall!

 

New Fall Counts are In!

We have been busy counting & measuring out in the field and we are pleased to report that the numbers don’t lie… we have a great crop of trees ready to plug in to your fall or spring equations!

Due to all of the rains earlier this season, we found terrific growth in the field on many varieties. But at the same time, the demand for trees has grown tremendously as well, so now is the time to get your orders for both Fall 2015 & Spring 2016 in!

Please take a look at our new Fall 2015 Availability as you make your upcoming tree project plans. If you send us a list of trees you are looking for this fall or next spring, we will compare with our field numbers right away so that you can secure the trees you need. 

As we mentioned above, we found some great new varieties ready ahead of schedule, and we project a few more new varieties to be ready by spring. We also have a healthy selection of trees above ground ready to go right now. We dug extra trees this spring not readily available from the field in the fall such as Birch, Oaks, Pear, etc. Those trees look great & can be used in your fall projects!

SGN Availability 9-1-15

Please join us here in the field anytime for a first-hand look at how well our trees are adding up here at the nursery!

Counts--Measures

Fall is just around the corner here at the nursery! Most of our summer projects in the field are wrapping up, and we are getting ready for a busy fall dig season.

Evergreen digging is underway & decidious digging will begin sometime in the next month as the trees go dormant. We finished our counts & measures in the field last week.  The growth in the field this summer has been great & we anticipate more caliper growth to come throughout the fall. 

We are already taking orders for Spring 2016 & we anticipate running out of many varieties quickly. Inventory is very tight in nurseries across the Midwest and will be for the next few years.  Now is the time to plan ahead for your Fall 2015 or Spring 2016 projects!

We have more new varieties coming online for this fall & next spring. Autumn Fantasy Maple, Little Twist Cherry, Urban Pinnacle Oak, Streetspire Oak, Spring Flurry Serviceberry, Turkish Fibert, Hardy Rubber Tree, Showtime Crabapple, & American Dream Oak are just a few of the new trees that will be available this fall & next spring!

During the summer, we had a nice visit with Roger Purcell (midwest sales rep) & Nick Overall (sales manager) from J. Frank Schmidt Nursery, one of our liner suppliers from Oregon. Nick was visiting Midwest nurseries to see how their trees looked in our fields. In this pic, they are standing with Jamie by an upcoming crop of American Dream & Streetspire Oaks. Both of those trees are Schmidt introductions (click on them for more info) & we are looking forward to digging our first ones next spring!

Fall is a great time to visit the nursery. We welcome you to come out anytime for a tour!

Schmidt-Visit

It must be July – the season of fresh SWEET CORN! Our patch here at the farm will be ready soon – maybe in another week. It is tassled out so it won’t be long. Please let us know if you would like to come & pick some ears.  We will show you where it’s at & we are happy to share!

We also had some excitement on the farm when 50 international farmers came to visit. They toured our corn/soybean operation & enjoyed a nice lunch while they were here.  The group came with the IL Soybean Association with farmers from Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, France, Argentina, Brazil, & Paraguay. Of course, eating lunch in Dad’s hanger/shed was the highlight!

Another highlight was meeting a farmer from Argentina that also diversified into tree production. He showed Becky video of his “small” tree farm of 1000 acres where he grows Pine & Eucalypus for lumber. The trees were at least 50′ tall & only 6 years old. I guess we don’t get quite that growth rate here, but it was interesting to learn about tree farming abroad!

We were happy to welcome our overseas guests and show them some Midwestern hospitality!

Well, the summer is off to an interesting start here at the nursery. We can’t remember a time where we have had so much continual rain. The summer solstice rolled in after several weeks of rain – over 10 inches just in June so far. The day after summer solstice, our county was hit hard by a tornado & dumped several inches more of rain.  As we prepare this email in the last days of June, it is still raining…

We feel very lucky to have missed the tornado. Our nursery was in the direct path.  In fact it skipped over the nursery & touched down just 1 mile east taking out a neighbors roof.  Then it touched down next in the town of Coal City just a few miles more to the east.  It caused devastating damage to the community. 

We had so many customers & nursery friends calling us the next day to see how we were & we really appreciate the out pouring of support from our friends. That’s what makes this a great industry to work in!

The photo on the top shows the flooding we found the next morning after the storm. Becky’s Dad flew over in his gyrocopter to take a look for us because we couldn’t get to the back of the nursery by truck or on foot. The video below shows how much the water went down just the next day. Our field is very well drained & in times like this we really value drainage. We did not sustain any lasting damage to anything & for that we are very thankful. We were not able to do any loading all week & we also appreciate the patience of our customers as we begin drying out. 

Click here to view our VIDEO AFTER STORMS

Other than all of that excitement, we are working on pruning & staking in the field. The rain all month has got us behind on weed control but we have been able to keep up on our insect spraying. We ware looking forward to some drier days ahead & maybe even a little sunshine!

We welcome you to stop by the nursery for a visit. It’s a great time of year to see the trees we have growing for the future.


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