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Where have all the trees gone?

Anyone with their ear or at least shovel to the ground in the Landscape industry is acutely aware the shortage of Nursery trees. This phenomenon has trickled down all the way to the consumer level, leaving many frustrated as they have not been able to find their favorite or best choice for landscaping projects.


To better understand today’s market shortage a little history lesson is needed. The housing boom in North America which took place as the new millennium was unfolding created great demand for nursery stock. Landscape architects and developers were looking for stock to accent new homes. Nurseries responded with a frenzy of investment in planting new stock into their fields. Few imagined how big of a bubble was about to burst. The financial crisis that crippled the North American economy beginning in 2008 deflated the economy which trickled down through every sector.


With it taking up to 10 years to produce a quality nursery tree, millions of dollars had been invested to meet market demand. When the market went flat there was an abundance of trees in the ground, and without sales something had to give way. Nurseries started burning trees that were now oversized for market and without substantial sales they could not afford to plant out new stock. Sadly, there were many nurseries that did not survive the downturn. Even the largest and most successful operations sold off land or closed altogether. It became survival mode for the nursery industry.


Having suffered a painful lesson, many nurseries are carrying on in business with a smaller scale of operation. This has created a leaner availability of trees. To add insult to injury, the Emerald Ash Borer invasion into our area has put more pressure on the demand for trees. With all the Ash trees disappearing landscapers and municipalities are creating even more demand. Unfortunately now, we no longer have Ash trees to help fill the void. Adding to the supply crisis is the invasive designation to Norway Maples which has taken place in recent years.


At Environs Wholesale Nursery we are up for the challenge! We are making significant investment into our operation to meet the demand of our customers. Each day we are looking for new ways to increase our inventory, and more importantly to take the quality of our plant material to the next level. Environs exists to provide the best quality nursery stock that is readily available for our customers. Over the coming months look for more updates as we work tirelessly to serve you.

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The Year In Review

While I write this blog, you wouldn't know that it's December 22nd, at least not by the weather outside - currently 11 degrees Celsius in balmy St. Williams.  The weather this season has certainly been the lead story.  We were blessed with a very favorable spring (with the exception of taking it on the chin a little bit when hit with a hard frost in late May) that aside, we were provided with moderate temperatures that kept the trees dormant for a reasonable period of time allowing us to harvest without the usual panic.  The summer provided for very good growing conditions with warm days and adequate rain.  Finally, we benefitted from a long mild fall that allowed us to continue to dig into December and prepare land allowing us to set the table for next spring’s planting.


The closing out of the calendar year gives pause for us to thank all our customers, suppliers and staff for making 2015 a successful year for Environs.  The preceding 12 months gave rise to many changes within our organization, all of which have impacted the company in a positive manner and have positioned us well for the future. 


We expect that the 12 months ahead will be equally exciting as we continue to grow and invest in systems and products that benefit our customers.  For those of you planning on attending the Landscape Ontario Congress January 12th to 14th inclusive, please take the time to visit us at booth #2528 to find out more of what we have in store!


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Pest Management

Environs Ltd has taken an unique approach in the effort to manage pests within our fields. Traditional methods of applying broad based insecticides are being replaced by more direct, less toxic and appropriate sprays. Creating an environment within our fields that allows beneficial insects to help control pest populations is our mandate.    A change to our pesticide products and a more focused approach to the identification of target pests on host plants has allowed us to improve the overall management of pests within our IPM program.  Additionally, on two of our farms we have planted a perimeter of blue grass  to further assist with creating areas that will act as habitat for  beneficial insects in future years.   As the year progresses I will update our Blog to keep you posted on this approach to managing pests.


The photo above (Predatory Stink Bug Attacking Moth Caterpillar) is an excellent example of the natural pest control that occurs within the nursery when pesticide toxicity is low.  Predators attacking pests are happening all day and sometimes at night as well. When excess insecticides are used, natural predators are killed and these interactions may not happen. When predators are not there to keep pests in balance, unnatural outbreaks can occur.

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The Value of Trees to Our Local Economy

Have you ever wondered what that tree on your boulevard is actually worth?


Last month TD released a report by Craig Alexander, SVP & Chief Economist and Connor McDonald, Economist that helps to quantify the economic benefits of trees and while the report dealt specifically with the City of Toronto I think it is thought provoking regardless of where you live.  Hopefully this will create dialogue within communities and stimulate discussion about why municipalities need to continue to invest in their urban forests.  Information such as this is also valuable because it provides politicians and administrators with ammunition when faced with budget restraints or decisions relating to items competing for financial resources - well done TD!


So plant a tree today - it's probably a good investment!



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Environs now has holding capability!

In an effort to meet customer demand, Environs has installed a holding yard and now has the ability to ship mid-season in order to meet your needs.  Our drip irrigation ensures the plant material remains in the best possible condition until you're ready for it.  See our Above Groung Spring Dug Availability List for available items!


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Welcome Jaclyn Mummery, Executive Administrative Assistant

Jaclyn is the newest member to join the Environs team.  Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and an Accounting Certificate.  Previous administrative experience in the construction industry, with a focus on emergency response and restoration, allows her to understand how important both customer service and quality assurance is to a business.  Growing up and still living in the area, Jaclyn has a great appreciation for the hard work that goes into farming and will be a welcome member to the Environs Team.

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Landscape Ontario Congress 2014

Landscape Ontario Congress gets into full swing January 7th through the 9th at the Toronto Congress Centre. ( ).  Environs is once again excited about participating once again in the trade show portion of the Congress.

This years trade show presents us with an ideal opportunity to acquaint ourselves with our customers and others in our industry, which we are all very much looking forward to.

Drop by booth 1528 to meet us and learn more about our diverse product line, our commitment to service and innovative production methods all of which will help you increase your bottom line!

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The end of the 2013 season


With the holiday season upon us, it is the perfect opportunity to thank our business partners; customers and suppliers alike for contributing to our success over the past year.  We’d also like to take this opportunity to wish all of our business partners a safe and happy holiday season.


All the best!


From everyone at Environs Wholesale Nursery

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September Blog

September is shaping up to be the start of a busy fall harvest season.  Thank you again to our customers for your continued support and to our staff for their hard work over the summer months.

Recently, I read an article entitled “A National Strategy for Ornamental Horticulture Research and Innovation”.  This article noted that the ornamental horticulture market in Canada represents $2 billion annually at farm gate and from producer to end consumer, represents $14.48 billion.  That was a much larger number than I had thought the size of the market is.  It also highlights that with this new Strategy they have summarized four goals that they feel our industry should be working on to improve.  As an industry it is very important and it was refreshing to read our sector of the industry is trying to set some targets that will ultimately benefit our industry. If we are as a business sector going to improve and prepare for growth in the future we need to explore and share best practices to improve the strength of our sector. 

I welcome you to review the article at the following link on the Vineland Research Center website below.

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Sustainable Agriculture

A week and a half ago myself and several of my colleagues had the opportunity to attend a day long event dedicated to sustainable nursery practices put on by the International Plant Propagator’s Society ( 

The day included Morning seminars that highlighted recent research in biological control methods; soil microbial activity for containers and field operations, as well as existing nursery IPM programs that have evolved over the years.  We also had the opportunity to visit three farms that were actively practicing sustainable farming methods, including a pot in pot tree operation; budding demonstration; compost operation with equipment demo; and pot container trials as well as irrigation water pH control plot.

The day proved to be both informative and thought provoking.  While much of the material written about sustainable agriculture deals with food production, it would appear that many of these concepts are able to be applied in the nursery trade.

For some industries, sustainability is largely a public relations issue, but for agriculture it's becoming a strategic issue and one that is increasingly going to affect financial performance.



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Bill Beni
April 25, 2017
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December 22, 2015
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