Call: 520.220.0951

Oaks of the Wild West

Gary searching for acorns
Gary Foss

About Us

We are a brother and sister team with long roots in growing plants. The Arizona nursery has a very different environment than the Central Texas nursery and it is our goal to understand which trees grow well in the different environments. And together we share that knowledge with our many customers around the U.S.

Our Mission

Our main goal is to educate the public about the native trees (Oak and Pine as well as other types of natives). As an integral part to that goal is to collect and grow native trees not readily available in the nursery trade.

How Our Tree Nursery Started

Growing up our mother always had us working outside helping to care for her many types of gardens. We both developed a love of working outside and working the soil.

After moving to Arizona, Gary started collecting unusual plants which morphed into collecting acorns and growing trees. At the suggestion of our mother, we turned the collection and growing of Oaks and Pine trees into an Native Tree Nursery. We've been doing that for over ten years.

Originally Sue started growing trees solely for her brother to sell however that evolved over time into her own branch of the nursery.

Rain falling in far west Texa
Far West Texas Fall Rainstorm

Collecting Oak Acorns

We've traveled to many parts of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to collect acorns of all varieties. Oak trees drop their acorns from July to December. Emory Oaks acorns ripen in July or August, depending on rain fall. Lacey Oaks, commonly found in a limited area of Texas, acorns ripen in late September or October. Bur Oaks don't have acorns that are ripe until November. Mexican Royal Oak acorns drop their acorns when it's freezing outside in December. Collecting acorns when they are fresh (ripen) ensures that multiple acorns will sprout.

Since we grow a wide variety of acorns, we make multiple collections trips to West Texas, Central Texas, Southern and Central New Mexico and through Arizona. Unfortunately, not all Oak trees have acorns every year usually because in response to a lack of rainfall. In the severe drought in Texas, our Texas Red Oak at the nursery did not have acorns for three years of severe drought. After returning to more normal rainfall, the tree put on acorns.

We don't just collect acorns. Acorns have to be 'cared for' to ensure that they sprout either in our greenhouses or at a later date the following Spring.

How We Grow Our Trees

We do not force feed our trees to push them to create fast excessive growth. You may see a very tall tree with a small stem in a small pot in some of the bigger nurseries, or you may see a very tall tree with a small stem in a very large pot. The size of the stem is an indicator if the root base is weak or inadequate to support the overall tree.

Our trees are grown from acorns and later transplanted into larger sized pots as they grow. This allows for better root development and a stronger plant. Sometimes you might hear us talk about the sizes of our pots, such as a 'short one gallon' or a 'tall one gallon'. The 'short one gallon' gives us 8" inch for root expansion whereas the 'tall one gallon' allows for 12" of root development. These options ensures that the tree have a solid root base that supports the tree once planted in a permanent location.

We also transplant our trees from small pots into larger ones as they grown to help prevent tree root girdling. It's more time and effort on our part, but we think it is worth the effort.

Tree root girdling usually occurs because the tree has been grown in a smaller pot for too long. The roots grow around the circumference of the pot - thus circling and twisting between individual roots creating the girdling problem. When planted in the ground, frequently these trees show no signs of growth for many years or die after a couple of years.

What about other plants and shrubs?

When we started going out into the field to collect the acorns, we noticed that there were lots of local native plants and shrubs that were full of ripe seed pods.

Growing other native plants that are companions for native trees seemed like a natural fit. We collect the unusual and hard to find primarily. Recently we noticed a small sage that was an odd shade of blue, and it would make a nice flash of blue in a native garden. We've collected seed as one of our starter plants.

We'll update the website with the information as these shrubs become available.

It should be a very interesting endeavor collecting plants at different times depending upon the seeds that are available to collect.

Remember we have two locations and we ship nationwide.

If you're in the area, come by and visit the nursery. We love visitors!

We strive to carry a variety of tree and shrubs from the smallest tube, 1 gallon to 5 gallon pots to 20 gallon pots. Some trees grow faster than others, like a slow growing Bur Oak versus a fast grower like a Monterey Oak. So call us at 520-220-0951 to talk about current available sizes. We have special open hours upon request!

Unfortunately, we don't currently have any 45 gallon pots.

We recycle our trees pots!

Talk to us about bringing your old trees pots when you come to visit the nursery. If the pots are in good condition with no torn sides or splits, we'd be glad to reuse them.