Our Product Line
Back to our home page.A look at the history behind J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.Photos and email addresses of our home office staff.Locate our sales representative for your area.Current events and informational articlesServices offered by J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.Plants that we have introduced to the trade.Download our screensaver for Windows™.Physical address, phone numbers and other important contact information.
Whips are almost always one-year-old tops. They range from being completely unbranched to being lightly branched on the lower stem. Ash, Mountain Ash, Linden and Honeylocust will generally be completely free of branches. Some Norway Maple varieties often have a number of branches while others do not. Red Maples, and to a lesser extent Sugar Maples and Crabapples, tend to branch freely off one-year growth. Any branches above 2 or 2.5 feet from the ground are left on whips to help increase caliper and thus provide a sturdier stem


Branched Flowering Trees
Crabs, Hawthorns and Cherries are generally 2 year old trees topped at 4 feet. A leader is reestablished in the Crabs. Flowering Pear and Mountain Ash branch well naturally, so are sold untopped with a central leader. Certain Crab varieties are available as high topped liners. These trees are topped at 5 or 5.5 feet to develop a greater branching area long the main stem. These are excellent for growers who wish to produce a taller caliper tree.
Branched Shade Trees
These are produced with a straight central leader and radiating lateral branches. These varieties include Ash, Maple, Honeylocust, Linden, Oak and Birch. Varieties such as Norway Maple, Sugar Maple, and Honeylocust, which are not free branching, are topped. A single dominant straight leader is always established in these by hand taping the top shoot. Linden, Pear, Mountain Ash, Red Maple, Birch and most Ash varieties do not need to be topped as they branch well. In either case, the form is the same – a straight leader and symmetrical branching. In general, 6 - 8', 1.25" and 1.25 - 1.5" grade trees are two years old. Some 1.25-1.5" and all larger sizes are three years old. The basic form is the same. Larger grades of trees have fuller heads and more secondary branching.
Light Branched Trees
These have the same general form as branched trees. They differ in having fewer and/or shorter branches. They are often a good, economical choice for growers who are lining out trees, as they have good sturdiness due to their caliper, while the heads are lighter and will be less likely to fall over. Growers generally thin out and prune back branches when planting, so this tree can work well for them. Garden centers and landscapers may not be happy with light branched trees as they don’t have the time to let the tree fill out.
Weeping Trees
Weeping Cherry and Weeping Crabapple are graded by head quality. Heavy select and Number 1 grades should be used for landscape installations and quality garden center sales. Number 1 light and Number 2 grades are lighter and less full, and less expensive. They are good for growers who line out stock for several years. Topped Young’s Birch is graded strictly by caliper. Young’s is also available untopped for those who prefer it this way.


Contorted Trees
Contorted trees are trained from their first flush of growth as whips to develop a contorted, snaking trunk. Graded by head quality, the caliper of these trees is equivalent to straight trunked trees of the same grade and variety, but with a shorter overall height due to their curved trunks. As is the case with weeping trees, heavy select and Number 1 grades are best for landscape installation and garden center sales. Number 1 light and Number 2 grades are a less expensive alternative for growers who line them out for several years.


Multiple Stemmed Forms
A variety of plants are grown with multiple stems. If several separate root stocks are combined, we consider the plant a clump. Paper and European Birch are produced this way. Bushes and multi-stem trees are produced by stubbing a single understock just above ground level, and encouraging several stems to grow. If the plant matures to less than 15 feet, we classify it as a bush. If it normally grows to tree-sized proportions we call it multi-stem.


Balled & Burlapped Trees
B&B trees are appropriate for lining out in the field, landscape installation, immediate garden center sales, or containerizing for future sale. Our B&B line complements bare root production by offering balled and burlapped trees of varieties that are difficult to handle bare root. Some varieties are offered B&B as well as bare root so growers can choose the type of liner that works best for them. Trees are carefully dug by hand by our own crews.


Containerized Trees
Our containerized shade and flowering trees are a much different product than traditional "container-grown" trees. Comparing the two is an "apples and oranges" affair. Generously graded by height and caliper as well as container size, trees are generally larger than those sold by container size alone. Unlike many "container-grown" trees, our containerized trees have strong, straight trunks with heavy caliper in relation to height.

By "containerized," we mean that most of our trees are field grown to nearly finished size, then established in containers for year-round sales. During their years in the field, special cultural techniques including pruning, transplanting and undercutting help to tailor a tree ideal for finishing in containers. They possess balanced, well-developed root systems that quickly establish themselves first in the container, and then in the landscape.

Containerized in early spring, trees receive intensive care including careful pruning, fertilization and optimal irrigation throughout the growing season. Under properly controlled growing conditions which we have perfected over the years, they add considerable branch length, leaf density and caliper size while growing in containers. Because we pioneered containerization of field grown trees, you can depend on us to provide the best in the business. Eliminate the springtime headaches of potting your own. Let us do the work of growing premium trees and shrubs so you can concentrate on selling them.


The VigorLiner® series is a collection of high value deciduous trees grown in containers. Liners of these unusual varieties are not widely available due to difficulty in bare root handling. These are varieties praised by horticulturists and garden writers and sought by landscape architects and designers. Many are North American natives such as American Hornbeam, American Beech, Sourwood and Striped Maple. Adding them to your product line will help to set your nursery apart from the others, and help your business grow.

Growers find VigorLiner® trees to be an economical and viable size for lining out and growing to landscape specimen size. Grown in #2 containers, they range in size from four to six feet in height. Because they are provided in containers, trees may be shipped in the fall and planted at your convenience.

Although we developed the VigorLiner® series especially for our grower customers, garden center retailers are finding these uncommon varieties to be ideal for cash and carry sales. Gardeners with an appetite for the unusual are quick to recognize the value and quality of these trees.


Air Pruning Containers
We produce our #2, #3, #5 and #7 container products in RediRoot™ containers. Their innovative design improves drainage and virtually eliminates circling roots. A heavier soil mix ensures compatibility with traditional container irrigation schedules. The slotted wall design maximizes healthy roots via air pruning; producing trees with vigorous, fibrous, easily transplanted root systems.


Root Bags
Trees grown in root bags have better survival rates and more vigorous first season growth compared to bare root plants of the same variety. Root bags prevent root circling while encouraging root growth. Inside the bag, roots penetrate the fabric but are constricted, causing a proliferation of roots with high carbohydrate reserves.

Small ball sizes make them easier to handle and lighter to ship than B & B products. Although the cost is higher than a bare root tree of the same grade, the added value of speedier growth and quicker establishment after transplanting makes them a good value. Bags are easily removed at planting time by making two vertical cuts in the bag and peeling it away from the root system by hand or with a pair of pliers.

Trees worthy of our UtiliTrees™ designation are those best suited for planting in the restricted zone between street and sidewalk and beneath utility lines. All mature at heights that are unlikely to tangle with overhead lines.

Pedestrian-friendly branching is compact or vase-shaped to allow for pruning without destroying the shape of the tree. Disease and pest resistant, these cultivars are tolerant of varied soils, climates and urban growing conditions, and require minimal maintenance.

Tree specifiers including utility company arborists, urban foresters and landscape architects are being made aware of our UtiliTrees™ selections. They are invited to use our Tree Locator service (See Services) to find these trees in their region, grown to landscape size by our customers.

To see a list of varietites that we consider to be UtiliTrees™, click here.


Return to top