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#1577 - 03/14/06 09:00 PM Mail order trees
Brettski Offline
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Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6908
Loc: Illinois
There is a parallel thread going right now that has kinda clipped this subject...let's give it a thread and see who knows what.
Who has history with mail order trees, what kinda trees, any satisfaction and the ultimate growth results?

We worked with Carino Nurseries in Indiana, PA about 8 years ago. We planted 50 seedling Norway Spruce in the Fall. About 1/2 didn't come back in the Spring; they were all replaced by the Nursery. Ultimately, they struggled the first 3 years and we lost about 10, but now are taking off. They are about 8 - 12 feet tall now. About 7 years ago, we bought 35 Gray Birch from Carino (same white bark as White Birch, but no exfoliation). Holy smokes, did these things take off. They showed up in a box 4" square and 36" long. Today, they are 30' tall, caliper 2" - 4"....Beautiful white bark year 'round and nice yellow fall leaf color.
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#1578 - 03/14/06 11:51 PM Re: Mail order trees
Eric_in_TN Offline
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Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 160
Loc: Portland, TN
I'm guessing you're talking about buying bareroot seedlings in quantity.

My parent's are in the Tree Farm program in Kentucky. Growing up my siblings and I planted countless state nursery trees on our parent's farm in Kentucky. Most of them were pines of some variety. The family farm is hardwood dominated, and Dad likes planting pines for windbreaks and wildlife. Dad is still planting trees every year, and just got done planting several hundred pecan, loblolly pine, silky dogwood, and bald cypress. I've also bought several trees off Ebay in the past and have had excellent luck with them.

The state seedlings are small and it's illegal to resell them, but they are inexpensive and will do well if taken care of. We always planted with KBC dibble bars, although if you're planting over 500 trees it might be a good idea to rent a tractor drawn mechanical planter. The time of year the seedlings are planted, and the moisture level in the soil are very important. The trees should be planted in late winter, before budout and the the best soil consistency is moist but not soaking wet. Even more important is how the seedlings are taken care of before planting. If they aren't being planted immediately they should be heeled in. The roots should be kept moist at all times before planting. We walk around with the trees in a partially water filled 5 gallon bucket. People who are even more serious about thier planting use tree bags. If you plant at the right time of year and right soil moisture, the survival rate will be high. They will grow very slowly the first growing season as the roots are established. The 2nd season they will take off if not choked out by tall grass and weeds. Depending on location, deer and rodents will bother some trees quite a bit too. Another thing to consider when buying mail order is the tree source. Trees acclimate to some degree to thier climate, and it's best to buy trees from near you or that were grown as seedlings in a similar climate.

I'm married with youngins' and no longer on the family farm, but my parent's instilled in me a love of land, the outdoors, trees, wildlife, fishing/hunting,etc. My wife & I bought a small farm 7 miles from our house recently. We will probably build there when the kids are a little older, but for now it's just a family playground and nearby place for me to fish and hunt. I'm just finishing up planting almost 500 trees out there. We want more woods and wildlife and decided to reforest a couple acres of pasture in native trees. Our woods are also dominated by yellow poplar, black cherry, and black walnut ... we want to improve the diversity of the timber stand. The perimeter of this reforest area is being planted in all native fruit trees and berrys. Lately I'm particularly interested in paw paw trees and other native fruit trees. I used an OST dibble bar to plant all my trees, and planted them over 3 days as time and weather allowed. Everything is budding out and it looks like just about everything is surviving so far other than a few shortleaf pine. I planted most of it in mid-late February. I'm going over after work tomorrow to check out the trees. (And see how much water is in the new ponds too, after a couple rains in the last few days \:\) Here's what I just got done planting:

25 mixed hickory
25 red mulberry
25 wild plum
25 shortleaf pine
50 white pine
25 green ash
25 shumard oak
25 persimmon
25 white oak
50 yellow poplar
25 chokecherry
25 blackberry bushes
25 redbud
25 black oak
5 paw paw
4 raspberry bushes
10 loblolly pine
10 pecan

I'm not expecting much out of the trees this year other than survival & root growth. I expect them to grow like weeds during the 2007 growing season. I ordered all the trees from the Missourri state nursery. Their prices were slightly better than all the other states surrounding Tennessee, they were willing to sell in quantities as small as 25, and they were actually in stock for most of their trees. I tried initially last December to order from Kentucky or Tennessee state nurseries, but they were out of stock on lots of stuff we wanted. It's just about too late to plant here in middle Tennessee now. Everything is coming out of dormancy and leaves are popping out on the trees. But I'm planning on planting several hundred more trees next winter.

Sorry for the length of this post, but hopefully someone found it interesting. I'm a tree nerd (*not* a treehugger) and not afraid to admit it. Trees are very interesting to me, especially growing up on a farm with parents who encouraged that interest. From some other posts I can tell there are others here interested in trees.

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#1579 - 03/15/06 06:55 AM Re: Mail order trees
Brettski Offline
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Loc: Illinois
Bravo, Eric! Glad you're on the forum.
Bob Lusk has recently indicated interest in expanding this forum and the mag to delve further into surrounding pond habitat and pond-scapes. There was a short thread to this effect and it garnered interest. I can see that you are also "on board". So am I.
My little piece of pond heaven was actually conceived as a piece of natural timber heaven with the addition of a nice water feature. With all due respect to the multitude of pondmeisters, it remains that way. What this forum has done for me, tho, has pointed out the importance, potential, and benefit of taking a water feature to a much higher level; a water habitat, teeming with life. So now, I have a project of timber heaven serenely punctuated with a marvelous focal point...the pond. In my little world, expanding the level of knowledge-sharing WRT the dry side of the water line would be a super benefit. As I read stories and see the pic's of the gorgeous pond-scapes, I know that I stand with brethren of similar creed.
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#1580 - 03/15/06 08:27 AM Re: Mail order trees
Theo Gallus Online   content
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Eric: Thanks for the great tree post.

Never apologize for a lengthy post so full of information. Those who are interested will wish it was longer. Those who aren't interested didn't have to read it.
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#1581 - 03/15/06 10:23 AM Re: Mail order trees
Matt Clark Offline
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Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 822
Loc: S.E. Iowa
I've been planting trees since I bought my place in '97. I'm at about 6,000 and counting. I always planted in the spring, and will do so again this year, focusing more on pines.

This past fall, I tried something a bit different for me and planted about 800 (pecan, walnut, hickory, hard maple, various oaks). ISU nursery says many times trees planted in the fall will do better the first summer than those planted in spring. They are not shocked as much and start growing at the very first opportunity, rather than having to wait for me to plant and then get over the transplant shock all at the same time. Pines need to go in in spring, as they usually won't survive a fall planting around here.

I also found out that hardly anyone plants fall trees around here, so it's much easier to schedule the county conservation board's tree planter. I can get it any day I want it and take it back whenever.

Trees come 100 to a (large) plastic-lined paper sack. I throw all sacks in the truck and leave them in there until the last minute before planting. Delivered UPS for about $1.00 per hundred, I can also get them exactly when I'm ready for them, instead of waiting for them to be delivered en masse to the county for pickup...right when everyone wants the planter.

Many of the first year's plantings are getting some real size to them, and wifey says I need to hire a buddy with a tree spade to move some of them nearer the house. I'm amazed at the size of some of the pin oaks. MAYBE even a few acorns this year. IF so, I start trapping squirrels in town to transplant...

Planting trees and shrubs is a HUGE part of my overall plan. It's getting to the point where I really have to decide how many more to put in. I'd like to keep part of my 50 acres as pasture (in fact, a 2 acre plot of native prairie grass this spring fulfills my contract with NRCS). I want as much diversity as possible.

Talk about rambling...but I love it and COME ON SPRING! \:D
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#1582 - 03/15/06 10:50 AM Re: Mail order trees
Beaver Boy Offline
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Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 347
Loc: West Iowa
I've ordered from carino nurseries the past 3 years. Always receive bigger stock than I am expecting. I never lose any of the stock through their fault. But various things take their toll in this climate such as drought and winterkill. I have resolved to planting every tree I buy from mail-order nurseries in a nursery bed myself. Then I grow them in the nursery one or 2 years and they have the size to compete against the elements.

I have lost too many trees to pests such as voles, mice, rabbits, and deer; that my patience is zill to none.

With shipping costs getting higher and higher, I also am buying more tree seed(which is cheap to ship) and unloading it in blocks in my nursery. But I have heard that people direct-seed trees into fields. And with such a high population of seedlings, the predation pressure doesn't effect the tree stand's future.

I have also added bamboo to my forest collection. Some people hate it and some people love it. There are various kinds, including a native bamboo that northern people can grow.



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#1583 - 03/15/06 11:33 AM Re: Mail order trees
Eric_in_TN Offline
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Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 160
Loc: Portland, TN
Matt I've always heard that folks in zone 5 and lower should plant in the fall, and zone 6 up plant in the Spring. Like you, I've also heard always plant pines in late winter/early Spring. I've heard alot of reasons for both arguments and am not sure who's right. That being said the state nurseries in this area won't start shipping until December so that makes me think late winter/early Spring is the way to go for my area.

We are 35 miles north of Nashville, in what I think is zone 6b. Nashville is probably zone 7, but 15 miles north of Nashville you go up a steep ridge for a mile or two and come up out of the enormous bowl that covers several states called the Cumberland Basin. As close as we are to Nashville the trees still leaf out a couple weeks later here, grass comes out of dormancy a couple weeks later, and in general the weather is a couple weeks "behind" Nashville. If it snows here and in Nashville, the snow might melt in one day in Nashville but linger for a few days here. Guess it's just the difference in being in the Cumberland Basin and above the Rim.

We planted some small pin oaks, river birch, bald cypress, and black tupelo (black gum) at our house 4 years ago. It's amazing how big the pin oaks and river birches have already gotten. The black tupelos & bald cypress' are very healthy but have not grown nearly as fast. I'm surprised the bald cypress haven't grown faster, as they are planted on a creek bank. At our land we are going to keep 4 or 5 acres in pasture, and I intend for all the rest to eventually be wooded. I've done a little "direct seeding" of my own last fall and over the winter. Not very scientific but I've been tossing Virginia and Loblolly pine cones, hickory nuts, black walnuts, and pecans all over the reforest areas. Some will probably take root

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#1584 - 03/15/06 01:25 PM Re: Mail order trees
Brettski Offline
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Loc: Illinois
Matt (Johnny Appleseed)Clark says:
 Quote:
I've been planting trees since I bought my place in '97. I'm at about 6,000 and counting.
Holy Spudbar, Batman....that's alotta trees! I am blessed in that our little project was hand- selected for it's existing timber AND potential for a nice pond within. As I have noted before, tho, I have not one single conifer. I still see myself filling in the smaller, unforested areas, with strategically placed pines...likely Norway Spruce.
I am intrigued by the government-backed programs that Eric and Matt elude to. I don't know squat about them. I imagine that I will get exposure when I finally get to working with the WHIP program, likely a year from now. In the meantime, I want to plug in about 30 Norway Spruces right away to get a year of growth on 'em. Should I go back to Carino Nurseries or other suggestions? 2 or 3 year seedlings/transplants would be perfect.
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#1585 - 03/15/06 02:07 PM Re: Mail order trees
bz Offline
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Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 844
Loc: Minnesota
I've had a little experience with trees recently. A local retired nursery guy gave me some pointers on establishing trees here in Minnesota. I'm mostly interested in evergreens of various kinds since my property is heavily wooded with deciduous trees. Lance mentioned that he likes to grow the trees for a while before planting. That's what we've done as well. I buy from a Minnesota nursery to make sure I've got climatized stock. I don't buy any bare root. Tried that and they take too much care. So I buy from a place where they grow them in bedding containers kind of the way you get flowers and vegetables for your garden. I get trees that are 6 to 12 inches tall for 50 to 60 cents each. They have a root ball in soil that is an inch diameter and 6 inches long. They ship them UPS. I plant them in 2 gallon containers for 2 years before putting in the ground. Depending on the species and start size they can be 2 to 3 feet tall when planted. I've found this to provide excellent survival rates and fast growth even the first year in the ground. I also use a special symbiotic bacteria applied to the soil to help them grow. This would be a lot of work if your planting 1000's of trees at once but a few hundred at a time is not too hard. It's worked so well that my kids started a business selling the containerized trees and it's catching on around here.
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#1586 - 03/15/06 04:28 PM Re: Mail order trees
Ric Swaim Offline
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Registered: 04/24/03
Posts: 1902
Loc: Surry Co NC
At Dudley's request I contacted the supplier I got my apple trees from & he does ship anywhere in the US. He also now has a website: http://www.centuryfarmorchards.com/
Highly recommend his trees.
BTW, If you have a particular tree you would like to have more of you can send him a clipping & he will graft it for you.
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#1587 - 03/15/06 04:44 PM Re: Mail order trees
Ryan Freeze Offline
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Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
There is a tree grower near me that is using what they call the "pot in a pot" method of growing trees for sale. They have a large bed of gravel with pots sunk in it. They then put a potted tree about the size of a pencil in that pot, hook up drip irrigation w/fertilzer and the trees grow like crazy. The man working there said the trees that were 3"-4" caliper were only 3 years old. These were Cleveland Pears, Various Oaks and Maples. The poplars and River Birch were even larger. They were selling them for about $80 each. When someone wanted to buy one they just pulled the grown tree out and replaced it with another potted sapling.
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#1588 - 03/15/06 09:06 PM Re: Mail order trees
bz Offline
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Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 844
Loc: Minnesota
Ryan, that sounds basically like a hydroponic setup. We do the same thing only our pots are full of soil that goes with the tree like a root ball. Difference between that and the typical burlap root ball is that since our trees are grown from a small root ball into a bigger one and never leave the pot til you plant them there is never any cut roots to stunt the tree. What we do is popular in Australia where they grow trees up to 6 inch caliper in giant 200 gallon pots. Harder to move than a bare root tree but much better survival I imagine.
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#1589 - 03/16/06 08:49 AM Re: Mail order trees
Matt Clark Offline
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Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 822
Loc: S.E. Iowa
Brettski:

It's a lotta trees, it seems, but it's not close to covering the whole place...maybe 10-12 acres at most. Counting the ponds and the streambed and I've only got maybe another 15 acres of "grass".

Another advantage I see is that I mowed the planting strips last fall with the tractor and SCALPED it down to nothing. Now, I can run the ATV sprayer right over the trees as soon as the grass begins to green up. Previously, I always worried about spraying over the seedlings. Not supposed to hurt them (Roundup) but if they've started budding, it really puts a time crunch on the project.

I hate to spray beforehand, because it's really hard to tell how much area you need to kill off. If my "help" plants the trees a foot too close together, I'm short several hundred feet of plantings. Too far apart and I've gotta hook up the mower to clear more strips. I don't gripe...they don't charge much for the help. \:D

As far as planting pines in the fall, it has more to do with the root mass than anything else. If you would plant them in early OCT and got plenty of rain to soak them in and maybe they even got a start at rooting in, they'd probably be OK. This past fall (drought) was pretty tough. I hope they all survive. Dry fall leads to "freezer burn" on the roots when the ground freezes dry. Pines simply have much finer more delicate roots and no tap. Plus they don't really go dormant...they just grow extremely sloooooowly. No moisture...they die. Hopefully, in springtime there's more moisture for them to glom onto and survive.
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#1590 - 03/16/06 08:22 PM Re: Mail order trees
bz Offline
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Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 844
Loc: Minnesota
In case anyone is interested in trees with a soil plug on the roots I just checked what I paid for my trees. I had it way too high in my previous post. I got them for 19 cents each. I think that's not too bad for 6 to 12 inch trees rooted in soil (not bare root). And they didn't come from the county or DNR so you can do what you like with them. Bought them at Itasca nursery in northern MN so they should be hardy.
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#1591 - 03/16/06 08:37 PM Re: Mail order trees
Brettski Offline
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Loc: Illinois
Presumably... Itasca Greenhouse do I have the right Itasca? I'm willing to take a shot...I could see plugging in 25 - 50 Norway Spruce in the small area I want to get planted yet this Spring. I would even go so far as to put a small chicken wire cage around 'em for a couple of years. It would be worth it; the zone is critical for a visual neighbor-screen.
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#1592 - 03/17/06 09:40 AM Re: Mail order trees
Matt Clark Offline
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Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 822
Loc: S.E. Iowa
Wow...the pricing is good, but the size leaves a bit to be desired. Rabbits and deer would see them as garnish around here. 2"-6" seedling...

IA State Forest Nursery has them for $0.30 each, but they are from 18"-24" tall...harder to plant, though, with that hair-ball of a root mass...
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#1593 - 03/17/06 01:33 PM Re: Mail order trees
bz Offline
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Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 844
Loc: Minnesota
Brettski, yes you've got the right place. I've bought from them every year for about 5 years now and it is very rare that the trees aren't more like 6 to 12 inches. Depends upon what you buy and how good a year they had. All I know is that they come in what they call Styroblocks which are styrofoam blocks with individual holes for over 100 trees. They put dirt in there and grow them. Like I said before I always plant them in containers for 2 years and then move to the field. Just gotta do the container phase correcly to get good growth. I'd say about 90 percent survive this way. Some trees will be over 2 feet tall in 2 years when you put them in field. You have to make a deposit on the blocks and send them back. Not a big deal though since you just tape several together and ship UPS or whatever. I think the deposit was only a couple bucks per block. They are very light so don't cost much to ship.
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#1594 - 03/17/06 08:02 PM Re: Mail order trees
Svoberts Offline
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Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 336
Loc: Kremlin, OK
I live in northern Oklahoma and have tried to plant trees on my 80 acre farm the past two years. That spread out and the fact that we have relatively poor soil for trees and a major drought have taken a serious toll on my efforts. I tried to water last year but lost my help (wife had a baby, lost the interest in riding across the fields in the truck), so almost all died. I bought another 500 this year but as of yet have had no significant rain (over .25 inches) in over 6 months, so I think this year's batch are gonna be goners as well. Hopefully, next year will be a better story.
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#1595 - 03/17/06 10:03 PM Re: Mail order trees
Brettski Offline
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Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6908
Loc: Illinois
Very interesting proposal, bz, but I don't wanna deal with the pot thing. If I'm gonna put in that time, I'll fork out the bigger dough and just buy bigger trees. I want to put in the time and care up front, plug 'em into the soil, and have the only maintenance be making sure they have sufficient water. I have had decent luck with bare root...based on my above described plan, would your styroblock plants be any advantage as an immediate planting into their final plot?
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#1596 - 03/18/06 01:03 AM Re: Mail order trees
Eric_in_TN Offline
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Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 160
Loc: Portland, TN
Survival rate will be higher with plug seedlings because the roots are left more intact at planting. But they usually cost a little more and they're harder to plant. The prices at the Itasca site are good, if the source wasn't so far from Tennessee I'd buy some from there next winter. There is a plug dibble bar available but I haven't tried one. They cost roughly twice as much as a standard KBC or OST dibble. They look like they might be difficult to use if the ground isn't really moist. It takes somewhere in the neighborhood of 250-600 trees to re-forest 1 acre, depending on the tree density/spacing you desire & if you are planting in a "grid" or randomly. If money is a major object bareroot state nursery seedlings will almost always be the most inexpensive option just behind direct seeding.

One thing worth mentioning is that most land will eventually turn back into woodland if you leave it alone and keep livestock off it. (Some notable exceptions are certain prairie areas, desert, and some swampland) The point of planting trees is to shave time off the process and improve timber stand diversity. If you don't "jumpstart" the process by tree planting natural progression will pick what grows first, plus there might be erosion problems.

In my area if you let an old field go it will grow up in grass, weeds, maybe briars, and a handful of scattered volunteer seedlings the first year. The volunteers will be whatever is "planted" or excreted by birds/animals/wind. Usually the first tree to show up here is eastern red cedars. It depends on what trees are in nearby forests, but black walnut, sassafras, viburnum, and black cherry are some others that will show up quickly on their own. After 8-10 years the volunteers will be large enough and numerous enough to start choking out the grass/weeds and become a thicketed immature forest. It keeps going from that point on as some of the small quick growing trees get shaded out by larger ones, and some understory trees start to establish themselves. The climax trees will start filling in the canopy and with 20 years you will start to have a real forest. By planting you can shave time off this beginning period, start the natural organic material breakdown process in the soil faster, and decide to some degree what type of timber you want in the stand. There really isn't much old growth forest left in the US, just about everything has been logged recently enough that a true natural ecosystem hasn't been able to fully establish itself. That's changing though ... over the last decade or so alot more trees have been planted than have been harvested.

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#1597 - 03/18/06 02:13 AM Re: Mail order trees
h20fwlkillr Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 320
Loc: Holden, Mo
The Mo. Dept of Con. nursery has nice trees at a very reasonable price. I have bought from them for years and have had great luck. I just recieved my latest shipment from them of 150 pine and spruce trees that are 18-30" tall for $18. Even if all but a couple die, it is alot cheaper than most nurseries.
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#1598 - 03/18/06 06:30 AM Re: Mail order trees
Brettski Offline
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Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6908
Loc: Illinois
Eric,
All my early succession has already occurred about 30 or 40 years ago in the form of hardwoods. In fact, I have to clear some of the thinner pole timber to daylight an area of about .25 ac to plug in the conifers. Their main application is to create a visual screen across a property line. I want to discourage neighborly thoughts of a nice gazebo to enjoy my (future) pond view (don't get me wrong...I have V nice neighbors; it's more about control and MY view). Anyway, as mentioned in prev posts, my conifer project is minimal comparatively...maybe 25 - 50 trees max. I can afford to spend a little more $ and a little more time to plant and protect them. After that, tho, the only other time I want to spend is "waiting".
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#1599 - 03/18/06 10:19 AM Re: Mail order trees
Beaver Boy Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 347
Loc: West Iowa
By the sound of your description you just gave, it sounds like your previously mentioned green giant cedar would be a good idea . Maybe a cheaper option would be western red cedar, but seed source has to be in consideration for specified hardy genotype.

Something most spruces and pines won't do when the crowns close in and shade is ever present, is create a visual barrier. Their foliage on the the lower branches will be sparse and the screen effect will be gone.
The western red cedar has great shade tolerance and its lower branches will should retain green foliage throughout life. I'm not sure how well the green giant is represented by its parentage. But I did think I've read that it has shade tolerance and retains lower foliage.

Just a thought.
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#1600 - 03/18/06 10:40 AM Re: Mail order trees
heybud Offline
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Registered: 03/14/06
Posts: 1319
Loc: Central Texas
Has anyone had any experience with the supposedly worldest fastest growing trees? They supposedly grow at incredible rates. I am looking for a tree to screen me from a highway and at my age I can't wait too long for them to get big.
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#1601 - 03/18/06 01:12 PM Re: Mail order trees
Bruce Condello Offline
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Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 8854
Loc: United States
Are you talking about Rocky Mountain Austree by any chance?
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Our new pond

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