As far as Mark Lovejoy of Gristwood & Toms is concerned, the most frustrating part of his job is having to tell his customers that certain tree specimens are unavailable or ‘out of stock’. Mark, who is head of the company’s Arboricultural Groundworks division, explains “We purchase our trees from a number of suppliers, partly to ensure that we can get the stock we need; when one supplier runs out, another might be able to help us out. But there are still occasions when none of our suppliers can meet demand on certain specimens or tree sizes.”

In an attempt to solve this dilemma, Gristwood & Toms are creating their own nursery where they will purchase additional tree stock in order to meet client demand when their usual suppliers are unable to help. This will be managed by the arboricultural groundworks division. “It’s like an insurance policy so we can keep the customer satisfied at all times and hopefully never run out!” says Mark. “And of course this will expand our capacity to plant more trees”.

The new tree nursery is being developed at the rear of the office and workshops at Gristwood & Toms’ headquarters in Hertfordshire. “We’re providing space to store and grow-on several hundred young trees, which is quite an undertaking. It has involved investing in a borehole to provide the water needed to irrigate the trees.” Mark concludes “Our intention is to ensure that we don’t run out of stock in the future and we can say ‘yes’ to our clients at any time of year. But, who knows, with the capacity we have here, we may well end up supplying our suppliers when they run low!”.