Frequently-Asked Questions

  1. Why are forests important?
  2. Do you have a minimum order?
  3. Do you sell Leylandii?
  4. Can I visit the Nursery?
  5. Can I collect an order at the weekend?
  6. How will my plants be packed?
  7. Do you supply tree shelters?
  8. How do I plant cell grown plants?
  9. What is a Planting Harness?
  10. Can I get a grant for tree planting?
  11. How do I specify cell grown plants when drawing up a tender?
  12. Can you supply large trees?
  13. Do you supply ornamental trees & shrubs?
  14. Which species should I plant?
  15. When is it best to plant cell grown stock?
  16. How will my plants arrive?
  17. How do I look after the plants when I receive them?
  18. What are Cell Grown Plants?
  19. What is a Planting Spear?
  20. When is the nursery open?
  21. What are the benefits of using Alba cell grown plants?

Why are forests important?

There is a lot of publicity about forests and woodland cover in the UK - some in favour of more woodland, some criticising the plantations seen over much of upland Britain. Find out WHY forests are important and why we should encourage more planting in appropriate places.

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Do you have a minimum order?

Our minimum wholesale order is a total of 200 trees, which can be a mix of species. If you would like to order fewer please visit our retail site, www.buy-trees-online.co.uk and enjoy free delivery as standard throughout mainland UK.

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Do you sell Leylandii?

Leylandii is a particularly fast growing conifer used for hedging, but has become unpopular because it needs to be pruned at least 3 times during the summer and often becomes uncontrolled.  We grow the preferred alternatives of Western Red Cedar or Lawsons Cypress, which will provide the screening effect of Leylandii and whilst slightly slower growing are much easier to control in the longer term.

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Can I visit the Nursery?

We very much appreciate our wholesale customers visiting our nursery as it can be useful to understand how we work when planning large schemes.  Please contact us to arrange a visit.

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Can I collect an order at the weekend?

The despatch department is not manned at the weekend but arrangements can be made to make the order available for collection at these times. Please ensure that you contact our sales office by midday on the Friday to arrange weekend collection.

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How will my plants be packed?

The plants are graded into packs with the root plugs wrapped in protective plastic film "bundles" - which can, in turn, be packed in a variety of ways. For a full description of the alternative packaging methods, please visit our packaging page.

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Do you supply tree shelters?

Yes. We stock principally Tubex shelters as these have been found to be a reliable design in most circumstances. Please see our Sundries page for further information or get a quote.

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How do I plant cell grown plants?

Cell grown plants can be planted into a simple notch cut into the ground. The planting tool is not critical and whilst we would recommend use of the Canadian Planting Spear, personal preference and competence should be allowed for. We do however recommend that attention is paid to carrying the plants on site in such a way as to minimise abrasion to root plugs. For this purpose we suggest that those customers planting large numbers of trees (say over 2,500) use a Canadian Planting harness. It is vital that, once planted, the top of the root plug should be 2-4cms below the level of the surrounding ground to prevent roots being exposed to the air and drying out.

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What is a Planting Harness?

It takes many months of careful tending to produce a fibrous root system capable of supporting a plant when it is planted out. But it can take a few seconds of careless handling to destroy a root system and jeopardise the survival of the plant. We recommend that the "Canadian Planting Harness" is used in absolute preference to the traditional shoulder bag. The bag is designed to protect the root plugs during those few vital minutes between the plant stock holding area and the final planting spot.  

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Can I get a grant for tree planting?

Depending upon your particular proposals there may well be financial assistance available for tree planting. There is a wide range of grants available, tailored to different objectives and grants will vary depending upon where you are in the UK.  We have provided a list of relevant grant bodies in our government grants page.

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How do I specify cell grown plants when drawing up a tender?

There are many reasons to specify cell-grown stock on a tender and you will want to ensure that you are getting the best quality and value.  Generally cell-grown stock is not specified by size of the growing container, but by the height and girth of the plant.  Most trees should be 20-40cm and at least 3mm diameter, but this can vary per species and it is worth spending a couple of minutes talking to us before writing the tender.  You will definitely want to allow for permissible variation as cell grown stock are grown naturally and so do not grow to exactly the same height and girth each season. You can also specify according to the Region of Provenance, but you will have to allow for flexibility if you have submitted the tender after seed collection.  Generally, seed collected one autumn will be sown the following spring and will be a forest-ready plant by that autumn, 1 year after seed collection.

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Can you supply large trees?

This is probably the most frequently asked question! It is a fact that smaller trees will generally establish better than larger trees as their root systems are in better balance with the above-ground parts of the tree. Given time, the smaller trees will catch up with their larger counterparts and they are also much cheaper to buy and plant. However, we do recognise that some customers may not be able to wait for the smaller plants to grow and may wish to purchase more expensive larger trees in order to provide instant landscaping or give screening. Normally, the largest trees we supply are 60cms tall, but if you have specific requirements for larger trees for instant landscaping or screening we can usually put you in touch with a nursery in your area that should be able to meet your wishes.

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Do you supply ornamental trees & shrubs?

Although we grow a range of stock suitable for landscaping and gardens, we do now grow ornamental plants, which should be sourced from a local amenity nursery or garden centre.  

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Which species should I plant?

We have a species selector page on our web site which will assist you in choosing the right species for your site.

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When is it best to plant cell grown stock?

As the nursery is not dependent upon lifting plants from beds, despatch can continue almost uninterrupted all year round, allowing customers to get stock when ground conditions are right. Cell grown plants are supplied with their root systems completely intact and surrounded by protective compost and wrapping, so they can be planted out into any moist ground at virtually any time of the year. We always urge caution where young plants are just resuming growth in the spring as there is a high water demand imposed upon the root systems. However, provided there is adequate moisture to sustain growth demands, there is no reason why successful plantings cannot be achieved all year round. September and October are ideal times of the year as the shoots are starting to close down for the winter but the roots remain very active.  It is still warm enough for the plants not to suffer from frost heave and the conditions enable the plants to become established before winter sets in, allowing them to get off to a flying start in the following spring.

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How will my plants arrive?

Transport of plants can be carried out by own own vehicles, contract hauliers or National Carriers. For a full description of the transport options please refer to our delivery page.

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How do I look after the plants when I receive them?

"Treat young plants like Bone China - they are fragile but if handled carefully will serve you well." - Danish School of Forestry Like all living plant material, care should be taken with plants in storage. We have put together a few basic tips on care of stock.

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What are Cell Grown Plants?

Cell-grown plants are those which have been grown in a specialised container with growing medium, rather than field-grown bare rooted trees.  Cell grown plants are higher quality and have a range of benefits over bare rooted trees, which are described in our benefits of cell grown trees page.

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What is a Planting Spear?

Planting of cell grown stock is considerably easier than traditional bare-root stock and, given the appropriate tool, it is also quicker. The type of planting tool to be used for any type of stock is influenced by local planting conditions and personal preference of the planter. Whilst a traditional planting spade is quite adequate for planting cell grown plants, a purpose designed tool, the Canadian Planting Spear, has been found to be the most versatile. It is the easiest tool to use in ground which is stony and on restock sites penetrated by roots or covered with brash. In heavy clay soil, twisting the spear will "tear" the side of the hole rather than leaving a "smeared" side which might impede root penetration. Used correctly it makes a hole the right depth and shape for the root plug. The uniform, compact size of cell grown plants makes planting considerably easier than the planting of bare-root stock where long straggling root systems all too often become the victim of a sharpened spade.  

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When is the nursery open?

The nusery is open for collecting orders 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Please give us a call if you are coming in to collect an order so that we can ensure it is ready for you.

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What are the benefits of using Alba cell grown plants?

  • Our plants can be safely graded and despatched from the nursery all year round without damage to the roots.
  • They may be safely planted over an extended season, i.e. from September to May or even longer provided they do not experience drought conditions.
  • Very high establishment percentage will be achieved, i.e. minimal losses.
  • The plants do not "check" on planting, hence rapid early growth is made.
  • They are easy to plant and little if any ground cultivation is required.
  • If planting is delayed the plants can be held for several weeks provided the roots do not dry out.
  • The root plug contains both naturally occurring mycorrhizae ( a symbiotic fungus which enhances the absorption of nutrients by the feeding root hairs) and added fertiliser .
  • Our growing containers are designed to eliminate root-spiralling, thus improving tree stability in the field.
  • Our special packing systems permit and ensure careful handling of plants in transit.
  • We specialise in producing native trees from British seed sources of known provenance.
  • Our computerised production management and stock control system ensures complete traceability from seed collection to plant delivery.

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