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  1. #1
    Veteran Member kthompson's Avatar
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    Default Raising Nursery Stock

    We have a few acres we are considering raising nursery stock on. It currently is a hay field. It would be a very part time business to begin with and may only ever be that and then with the acreage we have about 40 might grow into something bigger. Live in an area that is quickly moving from farm to urban and that is part of the reasons we are considering the switch due to problem with getting combine work done and such.

    Any and all insight would be appreciated from where to buy seedings to how to decide on what to raise. For our area (Coastal South Carolina) currently are thinking Live Oak, Crepe Myrtle and Holley trees.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Tororider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raising Nursery Stock

    It may be in your best interest to go to a couple tree farms and see how they do things.

    If you do a little research you can find a ton of farms around that sell seedlings of all sorts. We have planted about 1000 trees over the past couple years, all conifers. The first year we used a transplanter to plant about 700 and with our soil is was more trouble than it was worth. Ended up with clumps and not being able to use the seat. We had to walk behind the tractor and step down the slit.

    Last year we used a post hole digger and predug the holes. A little more time on the front end, and back end for that matter, but ended up with much better holes.

    Is there water on site? Our first summer was extremely dry and there was no water on site so we ended up lugging 300 gallons at a time in the back end of our F250. It got really old really fast. Part of the reason we needed so much water was the holes weren't very good, because of the transplanter, and they lost moisture quickly.

    I know a lot of the seedling farms grown in pretty much all sand so that they can transplant easier, but I believe a lot of that is done in greenhouses.

    If you are planning on selling full size trees and shrubs you will need to figure out if you are going to dig them out yourself or hire it out. If you are going to do it yourself you will need to get a tree spade.

    I am sure others with more experience will chime in as well. I think John Bud has a large tree farm so he may be able to shed more light.

    Good Luck
    Tororider
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  3. #3
    Veteran Member kthompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raising Nursery Stock

    Tororider, thank you. Want to reply to some of your questions to provide more detail;

    It may be in your best interest to go to a couple tree farms and see how they do things. Agree very much. Have one a few miles from me that I think would be willing to share info with me as I know one of the owners. Then it may depend on business.

    If you do a little research you can find a ton of farms around that sell seedlings of all sorts. We have planted about 1000 trees over the past couple years, all conifers. The first year we used a transplanter to plant about 700 and with our soil is was more trouble than it was worth. Ended up with clumps and not being able to use the seat. We had to walk behind the tractor and step down the slit. Understand the problems with the setter or planter. Have old style tobacco setter which is very similar to tree model that I think can be remodeled to work. But those do not work in real wet dirt. Normally the dirt is bedded up first.

    Last year we used a post hole digger and predug the holes. A little more time on the front end, and back end for that matter, but ended up with much better holes. Sure hope to avoid this method.

    Is there water on site? Our first summer was extremely dry and there was no water on site so we ended up lugging 300 gallons at a time in the back end of our F250. It got really old really fast. Part of the reason we needed so much water was the holes weren't very good, because of the transplanter, and they lost moisture quickly. We have sources of water but all would require plumping or hauling. One is pond and other is well water. Could put in well for watering or dig pond right at the planted area also.

    I know a lot of the seedling farms grown in pretty much all sand so that they can transplant easier, but I believe a lot of that is done in greenhouses.

    If you are planning on selling full size trees and shrubs you will need to figure out if you are going to dig them out yourself or hire it out. If you are going to do it yourself you will need to get a tree spade. Full size would take a few years on trees we have in mind, but understand the need for digging equipment to match the tree.

    I am sure others with more experience will chime in as well. I think John Bud has a large tree farm so he may be able to shed more light.

    Any idea on how far apart width wise to have your rows? My quick thought is 6 feet but then could not run full size tractor between the rows. So do I need to go to wider rows, depend of compact tractor, or plant say two rows and skip the third row?

    Again thank you all.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Tororider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raising Nursery Stock

    Quote Originally Posted by kthompson;1543267
    [COLOR=blue
    Any idea on how far apart width wise to have your rows? My quick thought is 6 feet but then could not run full size tractor between the rows. So do I need to go to wider rows, depend of compact tractor, or plant say two rows and skip the third row?[/COLOR]

    Again thank you all.
    I guess the width between trees and spacing of rows depends on equipment and purpose. For our purposes the trees are mostly going to be left alone to serve as privacy hedges so we spaced the trees 6 foot on center and spaced the rows at 8 feet. We have plenty of room to run the tractor between rows. We also staggered the trees between rows so that it appears from the street that there are trees every 3 feet. With regards to spacing I would take into account cutting the grass/weeds around the trees and the ability to get digging equipment in to get the trees out. I have seen farms just cut down the rows and leave the grass between the trees up, ie you end up with a row of tall grass that has your trees within the rows of grass, if that makes any sense.

    I would try to make the water as convenient as possible, lugging water around is not fun.

    Not sure if the tobacco planter would work, there are specific transplanters for conifer seedlings. We didn't have success with ours, but it was a rental(from the county) and I don't believe it was set up very well. My uncle actually owns one and he has used his to plant over 10,000trees.

    My thoughts are that even a 3'-4' conifer would require a tree spade of some size. And then you need to decide if you are going to pot them or ball and burlap them.

    Hope that helps.
    Tororider
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  5. #5
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: Raising Nursery Stock

    i bought this book a while back, very informative and encouraging/discouraging at the same time..

    Amazon.com: So You Want to Start a Nursery: Tony Avent: Books


    so much in it its hard to start anywhere in discussing it.. or check it out at a local bookstore/library.. you'll be glad you did!

  6. #6
    Veteran Member kthompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raising Nursery Stock

    Just noticed your post on the book. Thank you.

    Notice the new avatar.
    Last edited by kthompson; 12-18-2008 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Made mistake in the posting.

  7. #7
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    Have a few of this and that...but I bleed green!

    Default Re: Raising Nursery Stock

    I would join and attend your state's nursery association meetings, this is the time of year when they are having their conventions. The CENTS show, in Columbus, OH in later in January, if you would like more information, feel free to PM me.

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