If you’re like most landscape contractors, you’re constantly juggling your nursery stock. Sure, in an ideal world the plants you need arrive on-site just as you’ve dug the last hole. But we all know, this just isn’t always possible. Multiple vendors, shipping logistics, labor scheduling… how do you make sure your nursery stock is arriving on the job in its best condition?

The following article "Managing Your Nursery Stock" was originally published in Lawn and Landscape in 2002. The same rules apply – its only 5, 6, 7 (!) years later – and truthfully its probably even more important today.  Clients are going to watch every dollar and pinch every penny. Don’t waste your margins or your reputation on poor plant material.  Plant and care for the best material from the start.

Exerpt from "Managing Your Nursery Stock":

Strong, healthy plant material is the heart of any landscape project, and managing your nursery stock can be the most important factor in cultivating your landscape company’s reputation.

Whether you purchase your material from a wholesale yard, a garden center or directly from the grower, the source of your material is paramount in long-term plant success. Buy from suppliers that share the same standards of quality that you want your company to project. To revisit the old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words," your first visual impression of a supplier’s facility is most likely the right one. It should be clean and orderly. Plant material should be clearly labeled, properly spaced and easy to find. Sales staff should be knowledgeable and available to answer questions related to their material. Also, choose a supplier with quick product turnover – one that is constantly bringing in fresh material.

If you are fortunate enough to have large lead times for your projects, try to get the first pick of the material. When a project is too large for your local wholesale yard or requires large caliper specimen trees, consider buying directly from a grower. This allows you to inspect and tag material in the field months in advance….For more visit Lawn and Landscape.