Views of the nursery in pictures Links to organizations and plant groups Books, steel edging, stake kits, nursery equipment, etc. Searchable catalog and other plant lists Directions and map to the nursery Information about shipping by UPS and by truck Sales and service information Facts about the nursery and operations Sylvan Nursery home page

Sylvan Nursery, Inc. is located on approximately 300 acres of prime land in southeastern Massachusetts where the climate assures the best possible growing conditions.   The nursery was incorporated in January 1990, but our history began in 1966 with one 50-foot greenhouse.  During the past 40 years the nursery has grown from being a part-time hobby to a business housed in 24 greenhouses on 300 acres in six locations.  We serve over 6000 customers from all parts of New England and the Middle Atlantic states, three-quarters of whom run landscaping firms with the remainder comprised of municipalities, garden centers, landscape architects, and other retail sectors.

Knowledge of plant material and horticulture is the basis of our operation.  Among our capable staff we have fourteen Massachusetts Certified Horticulturists.  The management has always encouraged the employees to become better informed so that we can excel at serving our customers.  Trade shows, in-house sessions where information is shared and training meetings for sales staff are routine during the less hectic winter months.  We currently employ 80 full-time employees augmented by 40 part-timers during the busy season.

We have grown into a thriving re-wholesale yard while still being able to specialize in growing heath, heathers, bearberry and native seaside shrubs.  Our propagation crew processes over 250,000 cuttings annually in our new gutter connected greenhouse.  Approximately 150,000 bare-root plants are purchased and potted annually.  Half of the total stock sold is balled and burlapped.   Containers make up the rest of our stock.

Water continues to be a prime concern.  The irrigation system is comprised of 15 wells and 5 ponds.  We irrigate 60 acres daily with a combination of equipment.  Six Berkeley pumps transport water from the ponds to the growing areas in pipe graduating from 6" at entry to ½" at the nozzles.  The pumps are powered by three 454-cubic-inch and three 305-cubic-inch Chevrolet propane driven engines with each having the capacity to deliver 750 GPM at 360 feet. We water 20 acres of plant material by drip irrigation.

All aspects of our nursery production have evolved with water conservation in mind. In 1996 we installed three catch basins to conserve water and to eliminate run-off as much as possible.  The placement and spacing of plants, using bark mulch in the B&B areas and using drip irrigation on individual plants all help to save water.  In addition, routine irrigation procedures include hand watering when necessary, turning off the water during the hottest time of day to cut down on evaporation losses, continually searching for leaks and operating individual shut-offs on the nozzles to regulate flow.  

For the past five years the primary soil mix used in the containers has been superhumus, which is a by-product produced by the lumber industry as part of their conservation program.  Use of superhumus improved the water holding capacity of our container stock while maintaining excellent drainage.  However, we are currently using several customized soil mixes that are tailored to particular plants' needs to improve growth and to provide a better productfor our customers. 

Our chemical usage is very limited in the nursery.  We use control release fertilizers, sometimes with micronutrients added, and Hormodin II in our propagation program.  Herbicides for weed control include ROUND-UP, SURFLAN, ROUT and PREEN.  We use CLEARY'S, DACONIL and FUNGINEX to control fungus on heathers and on roses.  We use pesticides sparingly.

In 1995 we installed an automatic pot filling machine to speed up the potting process.  Since we now pot approximately 76,000 perennials, besides our heather and heath cuttings, this has helped to increase efficiency by saving valuable time.

The inventory and billing is tracked by a multi-user Compaq Proliant ML 350 computer. A Dell Poweredge SC1420 computer provides access to the internet, email services and acts as a file server. Both systems support twenty one networked desktop computers, nine printers, and three thermal label printers. Real World copyrighted programs handle record keeping for orders, inventory and billing while FileMaker Pro handles delivery scheduling, plant purchase orders and other functions. A scanner and 3 digital cameras give the Sales Department the ability to transmit plant information electronically to customers. Recently, a new building adjacent to the main office was erected to handle group meetings and the storage of files and records.

Another direction for the nursery was taken in 1995 into cattle and hog production. At the 
"Triple-S" Farm located near the main nursery we are raising Polled Herefords and Beefalos. Hogs and chickens are also part of the farm scene. With the exception of some purchased grain, we produce our own naturally grown feed.  The farm is authorized to sell frozen beef, beefalo and pork.  You can sample beefalo at the local restaurants.  

A few years ago the nursery purchased two large tracts of land in Dartmouth known as Island View (a photo appeared on the cover of our 2002 catalog) and Dartmoor Farm.  These properties are located east and west of Horseneck Road. The fields are utilized in animal feed production and in lining out nursery stock. Nursery stock production, which was once done at the main nursery has been moved to these two new farms or to our other three farms.

Our future plans also include modernizing our inventory procedures through bar coding and hand-held computers.  We are currently "on-line" and have been since 1997, where you can visit us on our web site at  www.sylvannursery.com.

We have grown over the past 40 years, but have tried to remain small enough to handle our customers as individuals. Our intent is to keep our customer as the most important element of our business.  It is our aim to give the best possible service and product at reasonable prices.

Neil J. Van Sloun, CEO
Jim McBratney, President and General Manager 
2007
Views of the nursery in pictures Links to organizations and plant groups Books, steel edging, stake kits, nursery equipment, etc. Searchable catalog and other plant lists Directions and map to the nursery Information about shipping by UPS and by truck Sales and service information Facts about the nursery and operations Sylvan Nursery home page