Homeowners who want to brighten their properties can find domestic and exotic tree varieties at tree nurseries.
These nurseries range in size and services, from those that only sell a few types of trees to those that do everything from delivery to landscaping.
A tree nursery will do well if it can meet the needs of local homeowners, home builders, and real estate investors. If you want your tree nursery to last past the first summer, you’ll need to go out to the community and show what need you’re filling.
How to select a healthy tree
You now understand the type of tree you want to plant and the environment in which it will thrive. A nursery staff member will immediately ask those questions when you walk in.
Knowing what kind of species piques your attention is helpful. That way, the employee can select specific trees for inspection.
Here is where the ability to identify a healthy tree becomes crucial. The nursery’s treatment of young trees sets the tone for their future health.
A tree’s overall appearance is the first thing that stands out. Several characteristics describe a tree in good health:
- Branches spherically arranged around the trunk
- There aren’t any brown, curling needles or leaves, which could indicate underwatering.
- Well-developed top leader, or the tall, vertical stem at the tree’s crown.
- The absence of insect-damaging holes and spots on the leaves
- Dead twigs and branches are minimal.
- Avoid having multiple trunks or leaders and stick to one at the top.
- Branches spaced eight to twelve inches apart and evenly distributed
- Uniform tree back that is not blemished or wounded
- The wood of the trunk and branches shows little to no scars.
- The crotch area between the branches and trunk has sharp angles
- Uniformly tapering trunks
These characteristics indicate the tree’s structural health above ground level. The situation at the root level is of far greater significance.
Flaws in the structure are simpler to repair than those hidden beneath the earth. The roots of a tree are extremely important. This is because they hold the tree in place and allow it to absorb water and nutrients from the soil.
Here’s how to set up a tree nursery
Depending on the resources at your disposal, these steps may vary greatly. Thus, if you already have good soil, there’s no need to go out and acquire some.
It is strongly advised that you either acquire dirt or amend the soil you already have if it is unhealthy (for example, if it lacks nutrients and is dry).
- Look for a level spot
Choose a level place that receives both morning and afternoon sun.
- Dig a shallow trench
After you fill the grow bags, you should place them in a shallow trench that has been dug to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. You can remove soil from the trench to line its perimeter and form a retaining wall.
This establishes a specific location for your tree nursery. It also ensures that the tree sacks don’t fall over as the trees grow taller and heavier.
If you plan on using plastic containers instead, you can skip this step.
- Fill grow bags with loosened soil only
Fill the grow bags with a loose (not clumped) and moderately damp soil mixture. Soil is optimally moist when it adheres slightly to your hand when squeezed but does not clump together from being too wet.
- Stuff soil into grow bags
Ensure there are no air gaps in the soil when filling your grow bags. But don’t compress the dirt so tightly that it can’t be broken through.
To avoid the bags tipping over or leaning over the edge of the shallow trench, it is best to pack them as tightly as possible.
- Plant the seeds
Planting the seeds twice as deep as they are wide is a good rule of thumb. This will ensure you are planting them at the proper depth. For instance, plant avocado seeds twice as deep as the seed’s thickness.
- Water your tree nursery, then cover the planted holes with soil
Watering tree nurseries twice daily (in the morning and again in the evening) is ideal, depending on the weather or heat.
Check if you have moistened the dirt inside the grow bag by inserting your finger around the knuckle. By doing this, you’ll be able to feel how wet the soil is.
Year-round tree-growing pointers that will help you out.
- Think about the climate
Select tree kinds for your nursery that will thrive in your area’s climates.
Knowing your hardiness zone is important. You need to tend to the trees on your own land for a few years first. If you want to make it through the harshest seasons your region may see over the next decade, you need to know what to expect.
- Getting started
Choose the best structure for your garden after researching your options. You may buy seedlings already grown from the types you want to sell, or you could graft your seeds onto rootstocks.
- Size does matter
There will be a need for trees of primarily three sizes in both scenarios.
- Tree whips that are 3 to 5 feet tall and are made when side branches are cut off are also in high demand.
- Little trees are in high demand (1 to 2 feet tall). Anyone looking to plant a large area of land with trees, such as orchards and reforestation groups, typically purchases these.
- Finally, in areas where trees are already well established, there is a need for larger trees (potted and bareroot) of the size desired for landscaping (5 to 9 feet in height).
The size that is most cost-effective for the nursery is usually the one that is easiest to manage and sell. If you follow these instructions, you should have no trouble growing these three- to five-foot trees from 6-inch seedlings to maturity in your fields.
Factors to consider for healthy nursery trees
If the tree you’re holding has lived through hard times, it’s likely to keep doing well for the foreseeable future. What you pay for is what you get. However, there are a few more things to check before purchasing:
It’s essential to have a uniform canopy
The distribution of the tree’s branches and leaves will be uniform. The species and the time of year are two important variables here.
Pruning cuts have an effect
Some of the older trees in the nursery may have one through clipping. A professional touch may have been used in the pruning.
A correctly pruned tree will have its branches cut at right angles to the length of the branch. The resulting opening is roughly round. Oval shapes result from inexperienced or thoughtless cuts that are done flush to the trunk.
Be wary about staking as well. It is common practice to stake more substantial or more fragile nursery trees. This is more evidence that you are receiving high-quality service for your money.
The flex test is an easy and reliable method of gauging root strength. To move a tree, press on its trunk while holding the container or ball.
A healthy sign is when the trunk flexes or bends, but the root remains unmoved. However, if the trunk is hard while the roots are flexible, you should proceed cautiously and seek out a different species.
Plant a tree today
If you plan on letting the trees stay in the ground for several years, cultivate deeply around them to limit the spread of their roots.
It is important to think long-term when expanding a tree nursery. Trees take time to mature, so you should plant new plots every spring for a steady supply.