Our Product Line

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Whips are almost always one-year-old tops. They range from being completely unbranched to being lightly branched on the lower stem. Ash, Linden, Honeylocust and Kentucky Coffee Tree will generally be completely free of branches. Some species branch naturally at a young age, and others do not. Red Maples, and to a lesser extent Sugar Maples and Crabapples, tend to branch freely off one-year growth. Any branches above 2 or 2.5 feet from the ground are left on whips to help increase caliper and thus provide a sturdier stem.


Branched Flowering Trees

Flowering Crabapples, Cherries and Hawthorns are generally 2-year-old trees topped at 4 to 5 feet, depending on cultivar. A leader is reestablished by taping. Certain Flowering Pear, Plums, Snowbell and others have dominant central leaders and branch well naturally. These are generally untopped.

Head height, symmetrical branching and straight central leader create a structural foundation for a premium quality caliper tree for the growers, while the heavy branch structure and full canopy serve the needs of the garden center and those growers who service garden centers by finishing bare root trees in containers.

Branched Shade Trees

Varieties including Honeylocust, Ash, Birch, Linden, Oak and some Maple have naturally straight central leaders and radiating lateral branches. Varieties that are not free branching, such as Sugar Maple and certain oaks, are topped while dormant to promote symmetrical branching during the next growing season.

A single dominant straight leader is then established by hand taping the top shoot. Varieties that branch well are not topped. In either case, the resulting tree has a straight leader and symmetrical branching. In general, 6-8' and 1"-11⁄4" grade trees are two years old. Most trees of larger sizes are three years old, possessing fuller heads and more secondary branching.

Light Branched Trees

These trees have the same general form as our regular branched grade. Caliper is the same, but, light branched trees differ in having fewer and/or shorter branches. Often a good, economical choice for growers who are lining out trees, as they generally thin out and prune back branches at planting time. Landscapers and garden centers may prefer to use regular branched grade trees, as they don’t have the time to let a light branched tree mature to a saleable form.

Weeping & Head Grade Trees

Weeping and top-grafted forms of Flowering Cherry, Crabapple, Mulberry, Redbud, and others are graded by head quality.Certain compact forms of Crabapple, Cherry, Hydrangea, Tree Lilac and others are also graded by head quality.Heavy select and #1 head grades should be used for landscape installations and quality garden center sales. #1 light head and #2 head grades are lighter and less full, and therefore offered at a lower price. They are an economical choice for growers who line out stock for several years.


Multi-Stem, Clump and Singles for Clumping

A variety of trees are grown with multiple stems, and identified herein as “multi-stem” or “clump.”
Multi-stem trees are created by stubbing a plant just above ground level and encouraging several stems to grow from that single root. Multi-stem varieties include Maples, Redbud, Crabapples, Serviceberries and more.

Clump forms are offered in our container and Root Pouch® product lines. Clumps are created by arranging several individual young plants within the container. Birch, Aspen and Goldenrain Trees are grown in this manner.

Growers can create their own unique birch clump forms by customizing the number of stems, planting angles and spacing between stems by using Singles for Clumping described below.

Birch Singles for Clumping

Heritage® Birch singles for clumping 4, 5 and 6 foot

Bare root birch liners designated as ‘singles for clumping’ are the best choice for growers aiming to develop finished clump-form trees that are vigorous and balanced in relation to the caliper of each stem. Graded by height and caliper, they can be planted in the field or in containers. The reduced royalty* on each stem offers growers an affordable option for creating their own “style” of clump form birches by planting on preferred spacing in combinations of three, four or more. Because each sapling has its own root system and more room to develop, the resulting trees develop trunks of similar or equal caliper and a pleasing, natural-looking balance.

*Liners offered as ‘Singles for Clumping’ are to be used only for the purpose of growing clump-form trees.


Balled & Burlapped Trees

B&B trees are appropriate for lining out in the field, landscape installation, immediate garden center sales, or containerizing for future sale. Our B&B line complements bare root production by offering balled and burlapped trees of varieties that are difficult to handle bare root. Some varieties are offered B&B as well as bare root so growers can choose the type of liner that works best for them.


Containerized and Root Pouch® Trees

Four types of containers in a variety of sizes are used in our container production process. Their volumes, measured in cubic inches, are indicated in the table. Root Pouch® (3RP, 5RP and 7RP) and air-pruning containers (3VL) are used for VigorLiner® production; described in detail below.

Container Volumes
(cubic inches)

Most garden center and landscape trees are offered in solid-sided plastic pots. They range in size from #5 to #25 and are listed in the catalog with a hatch mark (#) indicating their size. Our largest container trees grow in 28" and 32" plastic-lined wire baskets, measured by the diameter across the top.

Our containerized shade and flowering trees are a much different product than traditional “container-grown” trees. By “containerized,” we mean that most of our trees are field grown to nearly finished size, then established in containers for finishing and year-round sale. Containerized in early spring, trees receive intensive care throughout the growing season that includes careful pruning, fertilization, weed control and optimal irrigation.

During their years in the field, special cultural techniques including pruning, transplanting and undercutting help to tailor trees for finishing in containers. Unlike many “container-grown” trees, our field-grown, containerized trees have strong, straight trunks with heavy caliper in relation to height. Generously graded by height and caliper as well as container size, our trees are generally larger than those sold by container or box size alone. They possess balanced, well-developed root systems that quickly establish themselves first in the container, and then in the landscape.

Our VigorLiner® product line includes deciduous trees that are difficult to produce and transplant via traditional bare root methods. Because healthy trees begin with fibrous, well-developed root systems, our VigorLiner® trees are grown in special containers that we have found to produce the very best root system for each species and cultivar in the program.

Visit this link for a more complete description of our VigorLiner® program.

Root Bags

Field-grown trees in root bags have better survival rates and more vigorous first season growth than bare root plants of the same varieties. Root bags prevent root circling while encouraging root growth. Inside the bag, roots penetrate the fabric but are constricted, causing a proliferation of roots with high carbohydrate reserves.

We are proud to feature Root Pouch® fabric containers in our nursery production. Durable and made from both natural and recycled materials, we consider them to be the best product of its type on the market.

Small ball sizes make them easier to handle and lighter to ship than B&B products. Although the cost is higher than that of a bare root tree of the same grade, the advantages of speedier growth and quicker establishment after transplanting make them a good value. Bags are easily removed at planting time by making two vertical cuts in the bag and peeling it away from the root system by hand or with a pair of pliers.

Trees worthy of our UtiliTrees™ designation are those best suited for planting in the restricted zone between street and sidewalk and beneath utility lines. All mature at heights that are unlikely to tangle with overhead lines.

Pedestrian-friendly branching is compact or vase-shaped to allow for pruning without destroying the shape of the tree. Disease and pest resistant, these cultivars are tolerant of varied soils, climates and urban growing conditions, and require minimal maintenance.

Tree specifiers including utility company arborists, urban foresters and landscape architects are being made aware of our UtiliTrees™ selections. They are invited to use our TreeLocatorSM service (See Services) to find these trees in their region, grown to landscape size by our customers.

To see a list of varietites that we consider to be UtiliTrees™, click here.

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