There are occasions when a particular size, variety, or habit of tree is critical to the success of a planting design. In such cases, it is always worth enquiring with a large, well-established grower like ourselves first, rather than engaging a ‘tree sourcing specialist’. The reason is that growers are far more likely to be in a position to negotiate good prices and favourable delivery terms as they have an extensive network of nursery contacts from whom they buy regularly (and in much bigger volumes) than a tree sourcing specialist would.
The truth of the matter is that most of those that advertise tree sourcing services will simply send out a broadcast email to many nurseries or even nursery agents enquiring as to availability and price for your required tree. Some will be selective as to where they enquire, but many are simply looking for the cheapest quote. They will then return to you with their results, which may or may not include a picture of the specimen, and almost certainly will not include a warranty or guarantee of any description. Only if there is the prospect of a very significant order will a sourcing specialist personally get on a plane and go and look for those special trees. Even then, their network of contacts is bound to be weaker than a real nursery buyer’s network would be, as a sourcing specialist will likely buy as many trees in a year as an established tree nursery would buy in a week. Certainly at Majestic Trees our managing director spends weeks each winter scouring nurseries throughout Europe looking for the best stock available to grow on at our nursery. When buying for one’s own stock, it pays to keep one’s standards extremely high.
In our case, we will tell you if we know where we can source any tree we do not have on our nursery. We will only sell you stock we would personally purchase and grow on because our reputation is critical to our long term success. Furthermore, you will have the right to reject the special order stock on our nursery once it arrives. We suggest you ask anyone you approach to source stock whether they are willing to secure it for you on these terms. Be careful not to be misled by ‘virtual nurserymen’ who are simply brokers with no real stock of their own. The best way to discern a broker from a bona fide grower is to ask if you can visit their nursery to view their stock and personally select the trees you’d like to purchase.