Turnbulls offer wealth of bare-root stock, knowledge - The Buffalo News
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Turnbulls offer wealth of bare-root stock, knowledge

Garden nurseries provide all kinds of flower, bush and potted fruit tree stock, but finding a good source for bare-root stock with an abundant variety of bushes, grape vines and trees can be difficult.

For decades, 78 years to be exact, Miller Nursery in Canandaigua provided the most extensive selection of bare-root growth in Western and Central New York.

All staff members not only sold and cashed out customers buying stock, but they also provided tips and tricks to either get started with new growths as well as offer suggestions for improving growth of weak/slow growers. Their first-hand advice always went beyond anything offered at reputable but distant mail-order nurseries.

A check with area soil and water agencies came up with several good sources such as Meadowview Tree Farm in Naples, Adams Nursery in Lancaster, All Western Evergreen and Nursery in Springwater, Schichtel’s Nursery in Springville, Russell’s Tree and Shrub Farm in East Amherst, and Schlabach’s Nursery in Medina. Certainly there are many other reputable dealers in the Buffalo area.

But a recent visit to Turnbull Nursery on Versailles Plank Road in North Collins showed a production and product array as close as one might find to Miller Nursery in all of Western New York for bare-root stock.

Since plantings at our digs in Pavilion include berry, vine and fruit trees planted both for human and wildlife consumption, the search is always for stock that will hold up to not only the elements and human mismanagement but also incursions from birds and beasts feeding on the fruits, branches and sometimes stems and trunks.

As it turns out, the Turnbulls have been a family farming facility since about 1875, according to Bob Turnbull, 59, guide on this visit to the 400-acre farm and nursery sales site.

Son Rob, 40, has been a part of the growing and marketing operation since early childhood. Rob’s wife, Kim, also has a good handle on everything growing there. Rob explained why we lost much of our grape vines this severe winter past. Seedless grapes are nice to buy at the market, but they do not hold up as well as seeded varieties during long, cold Western New York winters.

Turnbulls have an extensive system for providing stock early during the growing season. Ordered stock fill a showroom long enough for a Buffalo Bills practice and can be kept in a holding cellar wide enough for a Sabres practice session.

Along with bushes and vines, bare-root fruit trees in stock are an impressive size. “We set up with 2-year-old trees here,” Bob said as we looked over well-started johnagold, empire, honeycrisp and other apple varieties. Galas were already sold out.

Berries, planted as ground crawlers or staked and wired varieties, can be a blessing or a bugger each growing season. The berry stock, and good advice, at Turnbulls may turn many of our berry crops into a bit better production for us and for the birds, come late spring to late autumn.

Backyard gardeners interested in growing for themselves and/or for wildlife creatures might head home with not only good stock but worthwhile advice after a visit to Turnbull Nursery at 10036 Versailles Plank Road in the North Collins/Brant area.

For details on open hours, seasonal sales and directions to the nursery, call 337-2248 or go to plants@turnbullnursery.com.

email: odrswill@gmail.com

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