Heirloom & Dwarf Conifers . . . Passed down
from one generation of collectors to another
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We have potted dwarf
conifers and conifer trees and shrubs available in 1 gallon, 7 gallon,
10 gallon, 15 gallon, and 25 gallon pots. No more waiting for a plant to
be dug up. We are a pot-in-pot conifer tree nursery. No more waiting for
the right time or season to dig. Pot-in-pot is also good for the
environment. There is no above ground run off of water. Tree roots are
kept at a more even temperature so you get the best possible quality
heirloom conifer. We specialize in dwarf conifers, conifer shrubs,
conifer trees and pines. Our dwarf conifer collection includes over 225
varieties . You will enjoy these conifers in your conifer tree garden.
Our conifer tree nursery has only potted nursery stock.
Dwarf conifers are trees that do not reach the normal
size of what is typical for their species. Dwarfism occurs naturally
in several ways:
- Witches’ brooms. Tangled, dense, snarled
clumps of branchlets sometimes grow on full-sized trees. Called
witches’ brooms, these can be caused by disease or genetic
mutation. Rooted cuttings from a witches’ broom maintain a dwarf
habit. See Wikipedia for more information.
- Seed mutation. Some seeds produce much
smaller trees than normal, including many of the weeping and
- Conditions in nature. Some conifers grow in
habitats with harsh conditions, such as windy, rocky outcrops
and alpine zones. Over thousands of years they have adapted to
these environments by becoming more prostrate in habit. A common
landscape plant, Juniperus horizontalis, is an example
We are members of the Irrigation
Association, the Illinois Green Industry Association, and the American Conifer
Society. The American Conifer Society has a wonderful website full of
information and pictures of heirloom conifers:
Lake County Pines, Inc. first year 2008.
My name is Nancy Watts my husband is David Watts he is a banker
working in mergers and acquisitions. Our son Brant is a Senior computer analyst
with a consulting firm in Chicago. This is my first year in the conifer
business. Our dwarf conifer nursery has been in the works for several years. I
have owned and run a few businesses before. For many years I grew and sold
organic vegetables, from our McHenry farm, for fine French and Italian
restaurants in the Chicago land area. At the same time I also started a small
website development company. In 2001 I got a job at a wonderful nursery in
Woodstock Il. called Rich's Fox Willow Pines. It was a real eye opener. I
fell in love with these conifers and learned much about the nursery business
from it owner Richard Eyre. Late in 2002 I was approached by a local heirloom
seed company to grow vegetable plants for Morton Arboretum and Chicago
Botanic Garden. I ran both until we moved in 2005 to Lake County where the dwarf
conifer nursery is now. In 2001 I met Vanessa Mueller whose passion for these
beautiful conifer trees infected me. Her enthusiasm for these plants was far
beyond any I had experienced before.
Vanessa's Mueller Bio...
The Beginning of My Story . . .
Growing up outside a small town (Albion,
Iowa to be exact) on a 10 acre exotic animal farm was not your typical Iowa
childhood. So apparently being typical was just not meant for me. I
tried though; I initially went to school to be an English Literature teacher at
the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. There I met a woman
who changed my major and my life. She fostered an enthusiasm for plants
that I’ve never forgotten. I graduated with an English degree and went
immediately to Iowa State University and graduated soon after with a
Horticulture degree. At the turn of the century I moved to Illinois to
begin my career in horticulture. It started with a landscape company, but
that seemed to lack the human element. So I moved on to Rich’s Foxwillow
Pines Nursery where I found myself heavenly engulfed by the exotic trees and
unusual conifers! There I met Chub Harper, Joe Stupka, and Al Fornash who
humbly instilled a heritage of information about these trees and their history.
The years of experience working with these ‘Heirloom’ plants has enriched my
life, just as it will yours. Vanessa Mueller was quoted in
Back to Nancy's Story...
Over the next few years I studied dwarf conifers and their
habits, watering systems, and pot culture. In the fall of 2007 I was ready
to implement my plan for a nursery.
The office and tagging
It took several months to put together an office with the right
computers and software to manage this dwarf conifer nursery. I researched over 2
years before even buying the tagging program. I wanted something more efficient
and less expensive than the thermal printer that has become the industry
standard. Finally after many sessions on the internet I discovered GardenWare
tm. It prints on your standard laser printer ($99.00) and does bar codes. Having
this in place before the dwarf conifers and conifer trees arrived I was able to
pin down a good system to tag and inventory the trees. I had a Tuff Shed built
that is just 12 by 24 feet to serve as the field office. I added custom windows
for added ventilation.
Pot In Pot culture
I experimented with pot and pot with dwarf conifers and conifer
trees for 2 years before the nursery was opened. It worked wonderfully. The
concept that a socket pot is put into the ground and a second pot with the plant
in it is inserted into the first pot has many merits. The main one is that the
plant while remaining in a pot is not subject to any radical changes in root
temperature. This makes the plant look better over all. Moisture lose is
reduced, therefore irrigation is reduced. Selling the plant requires little man
power because no digging is required. When a plant is too large we use a Pot Hog
to lift the plant out of the socket pots.
A less complicated nursery through drip irrigation.
I wanted a less labor intensive dwarf conifer nursery. Less labor
reduces overhead and means more profit. So I put in drip irrigation to every
pot. Little time is spent on watering. I estimate that I saved the salary of 1
full time employee. The irrigation investment paid for itself in the first 3
months of operation. Drip irrigation also saves water and is better for the
environment. With drip irrigation there is no over ground run off. The water
filters down thru the pot and back into the ground.
American Conifer Society Meeting 2008
2008 was my first Conifer Meeting and I
enjoyed it very much. I meet a lot of interesting people and was introduced to
many of the famous founders of the organization. Chub
Harper, past president of the American Conifer Society, collector and former
head of maintenance at the John Deere Corp. headquarters in Moline; Joe Stupka,
a master grafter and propagator from Pennsylvania; and Dr. Edward Hasselkus,
professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Conifers in Chicago
Chicago Botanic Garden recently reopened it's conifer garden and it is an
excellent place to see examples of how to use conifers in the garden.
Examples include: Dwarf conifers, conifer trees and shrubs, Picea pungens,
Pinus parvaflora, Taxodium distichum, Abies fraseri, Chamaecyparis obtusa,
Ginkgo biloba, Tsuga canadensis, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Metasequioa
glyptostroboides, Thuja occidentalis. www.Chicago-Botanic.org
Lake County Pines Inc
29685 N. Fairfield Road
Grayslake, IL 60030