What’s in a nursery?

Wyevale Nurseries Ltd is a sponsor of the 2018 National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC). 

Liquidambar styraciflua Worplesdon container grownWell, plants of course. And from a Tree Officer`s point of view; Trees!  – But is that true?

A nursery these days can be just a shopfront, tree supplies like any commodity can be traded and rattle in from anywhere, the cheapest supplier in the market. Does the nursery actually grow the trees they offer themselves? And from what point in time; from seed, cuttings or grafts? Or is it a tree-trader, a `finishing house` for imported production? Are a nursery`s suppliers carefully vetted and audited for their own in-house production?  Have they documented inspection by the regulating authority (APHA) of trees grown? Does the nursery have a Biosecurity Policy? Some of the questions to ask and answer if a Tree Officer is to establish the level of care needed in securing trees from a trusted source.

Further, will the trees arrive to specification? Indeed have you asked for and agreed a precise, pre-agreed protocol? Species, cultivar option, stem girth, clear stem height (or feathered to base), container size (if pot-grown), special requirements such as `matching for avenue planting.` Why not visit the nursery to see, select and mark up your own grade?tree fields in autumn

All good then if the right trees arrive. But when, where and how are they delivered? Is the person authorised to handle delivery timings in contact with the nursery, even the lorry driver? And the people and machinery on call to offload? Often, of course, this is a responsibility devolved to one or more contractors who may request a different delivery schedule to that ordained on the Purchase Order, thus potentially frustrating efficient paperwork and invoicing! Let’s get it all noted prior times and trees may proceed as planned.

Can we who are tasked with trees look further? Maybe by finding like-minded sources of inspiration and funding among the many who wish to pay a lasting tribute to those fallen exactly 100 years ago in World War 1?  Budgets are tight, your best planting plans may be frustrated by all sorts of people, underground pipes, and potential pitfalls but we have confirmation of the need out in those streets for green relief. We plant now for our kids. If it is not us, who will do it?

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Wyevale Nurseries Ltd and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

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