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Request Trees Early

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

Written by: Certified Arborist John Wayne Farber BCMA-0877B

We are very fortunate in Wisconsin that we have easy access to most things we want and need. We can go to the local store and buy bananas, avocado, and a pineapple, and make an awesome smoothie. Until recently it would be crazy to think we would always have access to these items considering none of them are grown near here. Have you ever gone to the store and expected an ingredient but it was all gone or temporarily unavailable? I will bet you have. When this happens we might become upset or disappointed that we don’t have everything we need to complete our meal now. We became accustomed to the availability and now we have to wait. What does any of this have to do with trees?

Trees are a crop too. They are planted, cultivated, grown, shipped, and sold. Like other crops their availability is subject to many factors including supply and demand, economic pressure, workforce availability, etc. Unlike other crops trees are not ready for market in one year’s time. Trees take many years to grow and be available for market. The result is then if ever there is a problem in the process of producing trees the ramifications can be felt for a long time. There have been several problems in the nursery business in the recent past that is now leading to a nationwide shortage of available plants. During the recession, the demand for trees slowed; so then did the nursery’s ability to put new plants in the ground. Producers of plant related items, such as bags, containers, baskets, also reduced their production. Unemployment and wage disparities created a skilled labor shortage. Some small businesses didn’t survive. Now that we are out of the recession we continue to deal with the problems created by it. But wait there is more. Emerald ash borer and other recent increased tree disease problems have created a huge demand for new trees while limiting the types of trees we can plant. Both municipalities and private land owners are having to replace trees at very high quantities. The sum of the problem is then that we have a greater demand than our local nurseries can supply. All is not lost however.  New plant production is ramping up, and the economy is still looking strong, but because trees take many years to grow, this will all take time.

Every year our staff receives a list from the nurseries with available pants (a grocery list of sorts). When we work with home and business owners on new tree plantings we reference the available trees that year and find a plant that fits your location, growing condition, and desired characteristics. This helps you get the right plant for your home or business. Unfortunately after the desired plant is identified the store might be out of supply because of the above mentioned problems. We have seen this now for several years.

The solution to out of stock plants is get your trees early. If you think you might want a tree replaced or planted in sometime this year let us get it ordered now. Spring offers the best selection and highest likelihood of availability. We don’t want to make compromises on the right tree for you. If you need pineapple for your recipe you don’t want to substitute a lemon (pun intended). Please take this into consideration and get your planting requests in early. If you wait too long the store might just be out of what you want.

- Originally posted 12 Apr 2017

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