Starting Your Own Nursery

For anyone who enjoys growing plants and trees, why not go into business for yourself? Starting a backyard nursery can be a relatively easy and profitable business to initiate. The demand for healthy well-nurtured plants and trees continues to grow.

According to American Nurseryman, the industry sales grew by 18% between 2009 and 2014 to $13.8 billion. Professional landscaping and home gardening continues to grow as the trend to dressing up older homes and the construction of new ones expands each year.

Growth of Demand

Growth has been fueled by the garden centers connected to just about every “big box” retail, hardware and grocery stores. Stand-alone nurseries have continued to proliferate in many regions.

For supply to match the demand, large and small wholesale nurseries have popped up just about everywhere. Many of the garden centers rely on local “backyard” gardeners to supply the young plants and trees that are mature enough to showcase and sell.

What Should I Grow In My Nursery?

Before starting out, the first step is to investigate which products would be most marketable. You should talk with some established garden center and nursery managers to determine what supply issues may need to be filled to meet the growing demand. The spectrum of opportunities may be fairly broad, but each retailer needs a continual supply of a variety of healthy young, yet maturing plants that have a high probability of survival. Specific plants may be difficult to source or the supply has been limited. So you might be able to provide a solution to their sourcing challenge.

Match the demand with your capabilities and space. In the first year, you may want to specialize in only a few varieties as you work through your process.

How Do I Start a Nursery Business?

Here are some important steps toward realizing that extra income or even starting a new career:

  • Educate yourself. Understand all there is to know about growing healthy plants from seedlings to marketable items.
  • Check zoning restrictions: Determine if you can legally operate a nursery on your premises.
  • Know your sources: Talk with wholesale nurseries about purchasing plugs, liners, and whips that are infant plants and trees that you will need to manage for future growth. Your startup and ongoing costs will determine your profitability.

High-quality, healthy plants and trees will always be in demand.



Equipment to Transplant Trees the Right Way


Experienced landscapers know that transporting and transplanting trees is a delicate operation. Removal of the tree from one location, then moving and replanting it in another, exposes many opportunities to damage the tree and jeopardize its survival. Tree rootballs are heavy while limbs are delicate. The combination of these contrasting characteristics makes handling tricky.

Heritage Oak Farm, originally a producer of a variety of tree types for landscapers and developers, uses their vast tree handling experience to create a complete line of nursery and tree management equipment and accessories to simplify handling and moving trees efficiently without damage.

Heritage Oak Farm’s ProLine™ is a complete line of equipment designed to enhance productivity for landscape and nursery workers. Each new concept is extensively field-tested to ensure that it delivers the promise of safety, efficiency, reliability, and cost effectiveness.


ProLine “GRABBER™” is an attachment designed for any late model skid steer loader. This extension is designed to lift, move, load, and unload B&B and container trees easily from one location to another for transplanting. The equipment attaches easily and the paddles safely handle rootballs as small as 14” up to large 54” diameters.

For transporting multiple plants, the Forques™ extension can lift and carry three trees up to 28” each. Telescoping arms reach up to eight feet to raise and set trees on truck beds or other hard-to-reach places.

Heritage Oak Farm also produces the GRABBERMINI™ that can be attached to many walk-behind machine models.


Designed by people who have actually done the work, the POTHANDLER is affixed to a standard late model skid steer and is equipped with rounded arms to lift secure tree pots up to 40” in diameter. The rounded “paws” are lined with rubber to handle even fragile terracotta pots gently without breaking during transport.

ProLine Tree Auger

Heritage Oak Farm Tree Auger is designed to penetrate the toughest earth while digging a new home for any transplanted tree. The Tree Augur produces a clean hole that keeps the dirt from falling back as the auger digs deeper. This efficient labor-saving device is designed for a 25° angle and can accommodate any size transplant.

Transplanting Made Easy

With Heritage Oak Farm equipment and attachments, transplanting small or large trees and shrubs become almost automatic. For answers to your questions, call the transplant experts at 888-288-5308.


Everything You Should Know About Drip Systems for Trees


Trees, the largest and most long-lasting components of any landscape, usually receive the least attention when irrigation systems are designed. In truth, depending on their eventual size, soil types, and seasonal water volumes, trees may require some special attention to ensure their long-term health.

Drip Irrigation and Soil Type

In some cases, normal lawn irrigation systems may be sufficient to keep trees sufficiently hydrated. However, we must remember that the roots of healthy trees are meant to stretch deep into the ground and that water must be continually available to ensure the roots receive what they need.

Soil types play a significant role in determining how a tree should be watered. Naturally, in very sandy soils, water tends to flow straight through. In dense clay soils, water flow rates and emitters that supply water, must be carefully programmed to ensure proper deep watering without losing too much volume to run-off.

Designing Drip Irrigation Systems

Any tree, or group of trees, will benefit from a low-volume or drip irrigation systems. As healthy trees mature, their roots want to grow deeper into the soil. Therefore watering strategies that support root development are naturally different for trees than for lawn or shrub irrigation. Again, soil type and system design play an important role in determining how much water will eventually be absorbed by the roots.

For the first few years, a new tree should be frequently irrigated directly to the root ball and out to the tree’s drip line. This ensures the new tree has sufficient moisture to support healthy growth. The irrigation line can be a ½” drip duct coiled around the top of the root ball with about 12” of spacing. As the tree grows, the diameter of the concentric circles of the irrigation line can be expanded to cover the expanding root zone. Because the roots are intended to grow outward as well as downward, the water should support growth in both directions. Wider coverage for outward root growth, and a slow flow deeper hydration for downward growth is the target.

Established Trees

Heritage Oak Farm, a prominent nursery equipment supplier, recommends a ½” irrigation line programmed to emit more water less frequently to reach the deeper root systems. Increasing total water distribution as trees mature is a good idea.

For more information contact, visit the website, or call 1.888.208.5308.


The Business Benefits of Offering Tree Removal

Business Benefits of Offering Tree Removal Service

For any business, adding additional services for existing clients is a good way to generate incremental income. Moreover, sometimes that added service can bring new customers to your door.

Professional landscapers who add a tree removal option to their portfolio of offerings become a more valuable resource for their clients. It makes sense that the company that plants, prunes, and maintains trees would also be the one who removes them and possibly replaces them.

Tree Removal: What It Takes

Providing a tree removal service requires learning about the health and care of trees as well as how to safely remove one. However, you will first need to know how to determine if a tree requires removal or not. Salvaging trees can also be an option that could work in your favor.

Most people prefer to have a professional whom they trust with all the right tools to take the tree down and haul away the limbs and branches. Stump grinding is commonly needed as well, a process that calls for another set of tools.

Since taking out large trees requires more than a good chainsaw, a professional landscaping/tree removal service can save the homeowner all of the cost of expensive tools, labor, and physical risk required for a do-it-yourself job.

At a minimum, the investment to begin tree removal would include saws, ropes and lines, ladders, wood chipper, and stump grinder, plus the truck to carry it all.

Additional Revenue for a Landscaper

According to the landscaping experts at Heritage Oak Farm, the average cost to remove a tree is $650. Depending on the size of the trees, the cost may be far more. Stump grinding can be an additional cost.

On the cost recovery side, the wood chips from reducing the limbs, branches, and stumps can be resold as mulch or sold for reforming into wood pellets. Logs may also be sold as firewood.

Expand the Value of Your Services

Being able to handle all of your clients’ landscaping needs should be the professional landscaper’s objective. Being the “go-to” person or company for every matter makes life easier for the customer and keeps them from looking elsewhere for help on anything related to their outdoor living areas.

Between solidifying your customer relationships with another problem solving solution and earning more revenue, adding tree removal to your portfolio is a very compatible addition.


Landscape Myths Busted: Part 2


Landscaping Myths Busted: Part 2

Many who have tackled a complex and expensive landscape design in year one have experienced disappointment as year two unfolds. In a few instances, some element did not survive because of the wrong location, improper soil, or another undefined reason. Below are a few more landscaping “myths.”

“Topping Trees” is Beneficial

According to the Florida Landscape Management Association, “topping trees” (shortening or removing upper limbs) to limit the growth of trees is a harmful practice. Professional landscapers and arborists never do this except when a tree comes too close to a power line. Even then, the pruning should be limited. Topping removes much of the leaves and limbs that produce the tree’s “food.” Your tree can actually starve while it tries to regrow the limbs and leaves.

No Maintenance Landscapes

There is no such thing as no maintenance landscaping. Low-maintenance ones can be beautiful, but water, fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides are still important in those desert landscapes that consist mostly of sand, gravel, and some low water plants. “No maintenance” means complete abandonment which brings very little pleasure to the owner or neighbors.

All Trees Should Be Staked

Newly planted trees should only be staked if necessary. Staking new trees is appropriate when the area is regularly exposed to high winds, if the tree is located near heavy pedestrian traffic, or when it has a disproportionately smaller root system compared to the upper parts. If staking is needed, make sure to regularly check the attached wrap or rope to make sure it is not embedding itself into the trunk.

Adding Sand to Clay Soil

When planting, many believe that adding sand to clay soil will create a looser soil that is more amenable to root expansion. The problem is that when water is added, the soil could essentially turn to concrete. Professional landscapers recommend mixing the clay with an organic like peat, compost, or manure.

If Little is Good, More is Better

Plants require a certain amount of water, pesticide, fertilizer, and herbicide to thrive. Keep track of how much of these additives you add, no more than the instructions, so that your plants and trees can grow normally. Overdoing any of these likely will result in a disaster.

Contact a Professional Landscaper

A professional knows how to design and maintain the best landscape for your area. Save money and improve the results by working with a knowledgeable landscaper.


Step-by-step guide to choosing the right landscape designer

tree_boss_04Landscape design should be a collaborative effort to be successful. The collective visions of the client, landscape contractor, and designer should meld to produce a gratifying result for everyone, particularly the client.

Selecting the right landscape designer is a similar process to identifying the right construction contractor, architect, or another professional who will be performing relatively significant modifications to a homeowner’s property.

For the landscape contractor, the designer plays a vital role in the project since the design and implementation are the elements that will be judged. Customer satisfaction of the end product impacts the reputation of the contractor, no matter how well the plan had been executed.

Thoroughly Understand the Customer’s Objectives

What does the owner wish to have when the project is complete? Understand the goals and the budget restrictions and a general idea of unique topographical features. Know what the client does not want before starting.

Develop a List of Candidates

Create a slate of possible candidates from discussions with other industry professionals and past clients. Focus particularly on ones who work with projects of similar type, scope, and budget. Cross check candidates with others whom you trust who may have had experience working with particular individuals. Check out some of their recent design projects.

At this point, you should have a list of at least three potential candidates. Contact each with a description of the project and ask them to meet to discuss ideas.


Meet with the core candidates. How easily you interact, share ideas, and develop a sense of compatibility will drive your decision. Understand the designer’s philosophy and past solutions to specific problems. Discuss the upcoming project and allow the candidate to expound on the potential direction. Determine if the candidate’s approach will be compatible cost-wise with what you estimate to be the target budget.

Make Your Choice

Personal compatibility, professional demeanor, proven expertise, and the cost will drive the final decision.

Meet with the Client

The contractor and newly selected designer will meet with the client to discuss the owners’ objectives and to walk the property to understand the possibilities and limitations, and to share ideas. The landscape designer may begin to measure areas and catalog existing characteristics such as trees and shrubs, native plants, wall structures, and water sources. Mapping the position of the property relative to the prevailing sunlight provides a vision of possibilities when the actual planning begins.


The History of Landscape Design


Evolution of Landscape Design

Landscape design is one part science and two parts art form. Landscape architects and contractors fully understand that their mission is to create an appealing exterior for clients to enjoy while outside, and to admire when inside. Eye-catching features and flowing harmony should be on display during any season.

Centuries ago, people began to realize the inherent beauty, value, and tranquility of developing and tending gardens. No longer growing vegetation simply for food, new landscapers recognized that plant cultivation was a cooperation with Nature that allowed individuals to observe nature, animals, and insects close up. Gardens provided a place to relax, reflect and entertain

Landscape Design: The Challenge

As landscape designers and contractors are well aware, many factors affect the planning of a landscape project. Elements such as soil types, climate, topography, drainage, groundwater, native plants, and irrigation are the fundamental considerations. Other human related issues include traffic patterns, “fixed” elements, fences, lighting, and, of course, permit and zoning issues.

Landscape Design Over the Centuries: The Art’s The Landscape Guide offers a historical view of the development of landscaping design that has changed over the last centuries. Here’s a brief review.

Pre-1800s: Naturally, before the ages of more advanced technology, landscaping was simply a manual process with little advance “drawing board” planning. With few exceptions, landscapers tended to allow their creations to evolve, adding and removing as they deemed necessary. Of course, many classic and historic gardens evolved over centuries in such places as China, Japan, England, Egypt, and even Babylon among others.

1800-1900: Around 1800, the idea of a preliminary sketch using a drawing board or “clean hands” planning approach began. Master plans and 2-dimensional drawings became the norm with other artists and craftsmen, creators of new devices and more elaborate food presentations. Landscape designers used this pre-design approach well before picking up a shovel.

1900-1972: During this period, landscaping’s era of “modernism” evolved to encompass more than gardens and lawns. Vast projects like office parks, retail malls, and massive housing developments sprung up that involved geometric designs for carefully placed trees and shrubs surrounded by megatons of concrete and asphalt.

Post-1972: The computer age has moved landscape design from 2-dimensional planning to 3-dimensional visualization. In fact, the 4th-dimension, time, can simulate changing seasons in a landscape design. Computer simulations also create a range of perspectives to envision how elements appear from any vantage point.