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Advice for selling trees

I set up an estate tree nursery a couple of years ago and now have around 550 trees, 18 species, ranging from 2-3m London Plane trees, Wild/ Bird Cherry, Wild Pear, Sweet/ Horse Chestnut, to smaller Silver Birch, English/Pin/Holm Oak, Walnut and Copper Beech. These are all pot grown and easy to transport. 

My goal was to sell these to local garden centres and nurseries but there doesn't seem to be much interest. Any advice on where and how I could sell these, ideally in bulk at wholesale prices, would be really appreciated. Based in Sussex and wondering if I should be considering landscape gardening firms or housing developers?

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  • hi oliver i dont want to sound rude but 500 trees is not a lot for a tree nursery the big boys have somthing like 50000 trees and more veriaty i know you have to start somewhare 

    dont think you will get any joy out of house builders as most are done by subbys on a supply and plant also have to replase any that fail 

    also there is the plant pasport to think about 

    maby landscapers in your area might buy some or garden designersmight show a intrest

    failing that social media but i dont think that will do bulk sales 

    • Hi David - i agree on the size, i was looking to prove the concept first before expanding and have space to expand up to 5,000 trees. although still not a patch on the big outfits as you say. Good point re the garden designers - i'll look at some of them locally. Maybe some local plating schemes could be interested - just have to find them.

  • LJN PRO

    I would look at 'small housing development' builders - the type that build high quailty, low volume properties. They typically keep under the number of units that would require a social housing element and thus go for premium money. There's an explosion of these types in the south - especially in your region i would suggest,

    A bit of targeted research would throw up a number of names. They either go out to tender or go looking on a tactical basis via contracted landscaping businesses as the build comes up out of the ground ....

    When i see what is supplied on some residential developments i've been appalled at quailty....

    Good luck👍

    • PRO

      I would approach local authority .road side planting , areas which require native species .

      A guy I know with a small nursery grows and plants trees along sides of motorways .

      Gorse is a bread and butter shrub . Trees like holm oak which keep their leaves .

      Thinking out loud I have bought Acers from events like Harrogate flower show also a good place to make contacts .

      Farm shops often sell plants and trees , local garden centres buy in smaller quanties , I don't know what your margin is selling wholesale ? I might try and sell some retail car boots or outdoor market stall  locally .with the amount of trees you have I would aim for niche markets .

      • Thanks John - very helpful. I have come to realise that this might be more of an exercise in hunting down the niche markets. Obviously the dream would be to grow trees on through a pre agreed arrangement. 

  • PRO

    Facebook maketplace to domestic clients, local councils (if they havent outsourced things to ID Verde or similar, as has been said small local house builders.

    You may find someone who has bought a manor house who is doing re-wilding locally and would buy the lot.

    • PRO

      The time and  effort you have taken to grow those trees commands a premium price in my opinion , I don't know how long it's taken you to grow them ? 

      I would be inclined to try different avenues as others have said rather than sell them to retailers 

      Supply and plant individual tree service especially the walnut , holm oak . All the trees in your stock carry value ,someone somewhere will want them and a personal planting service .

      In almost every case where permission is granted to take down a tree in a conversation area they suggest it's replaced with a new tree you could contact tree surgeons , I would leave no stone unturned .

      Better to supply one tree and plant it at premium price than sell Five trees wholesale unless your wholesale price is very profitable perhaps . 

      Nothing to stop you doing both really a case of finding what works for you . 

      Also don't trees increase in value the more mature they are ? they don't have a shelf life so good assets you can afford to be flexible .

  • A sale a sale. Surly you just need to up your advertising/marketing. Web site, Facebook, Instagram, local fates, county shows.

    Out my way there's a pub where local gardeners/ landscapers drink. I don't bother going there it's an hour walk from home when I can walk ten mins to spoons for £2.19 pint.

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