Hoette Farm and Nursery: Power of Trees
While driving on I-70 east of New Florence, Missouri in Agri-Ready Designated Montgomery County, be sure to take notice of Hoette Farms and Nursery. It’s not an exceptionally organized forest, but a farm where trees are grown in tidy rows and sold for the landscapes of Missouri and beyond. Since 2013, Derek and Courtney Bland have been investing in the POWER of trees.
Years before Derek Bland became a tree farmer in Central Missouri, his father-in-law invited him to help with the family tree farm during a few weekends each fall. He encouraged Derek to learn more about landscaping and installing trees. In 2013, Derek and his wife, Courtney, decided to purchase the 400-acre family tree farm and nursery business, which has been operating in Montgomery County since the mid-1980s. Today, Hoette Farms and Nursery offers trees to wholesale and retail buyers with a niche in their offering of larger trees. Their unique sector of agriculture contributed to the $365.9 million in economic output that Montgomery County agriculture contributed to Missouri’s economy in 2021.
Each of the farms’ trees starts out small. Each spring and fall, tree “liners” arrive at Hoette Farms and Nursery to be planted by type, kind and size. A “liner” is a horticultural term referring to saplings and young plants that are shipped as a bare root twigs or small potted saplings. While trees planted in 2023 won’t be marketable until at least 2026, Derek has a vision for the future. His knowledge of past orders, attention to popular varieties and diligent management provides the nursery with marketable trees as much as a decade from now.
As a ‘tree farmer’, Derek pays to get good tree liners from reputable growers. The trees are planted optimally to promote the best root growth. Fields are cultivated to allow the trees to thrive. Since irrigation is vital during dry periods, drainage in the tree fields is top notch, though Derek noted that, “No watering we can do is quite like a good rain”. As the trees grow, they are trimmed, shaped, and protected from insects and disease so the farm’s final products are of the highest quality. Trees ready for sale are harvested November through March during the trees’ dormant season. Hoette Farm trees are dug with a larger than industry standard root ball for higher success during transplanting.
Derek believes that attention to detail and intense customer service from the team at Hoette Farms and Nursery helps create business opportunities. The farm has unbeatable visibility from I-70, an asset that they maximize. The farm is the largest Midwestern nursery growing oaks, maples, ornamental shade trees, lilacs and evergreens that succeed in Missouri weather, as well as species shipped to the Northern and Western United States. Locally, their larger tree spade allows them to transplant larger trees into landscapes from Columbia to St. Louis and Jefferson City. Larger trees help landscapes be more instantly gratifying, especially in commercial settings. Having the ability to offer and plant larger trees is one reason Hoette Farms was contracted to grow and plant 900 trees for the grounds of the St. Louis Arch. The farm welcomes individuals to Hoette Farms and Nursery to pick out and tag trees for purchase from the fields or the retail sales area.
“For us, the farm is long term. We are trying to see something over years not months. In recent years we have shouldered the challenges of expensive fuel and burlap and shortages of supplies, but we love it. It is fun! Things will change over time, but we’ll grow trees somehow,” Derek said.
Derek and Courtney have enjoyed growing Hoette Farms and Nursery over the years with their 5 children. For more information about the location and nursery inventory, visit www.hoettefarms.com. The family is a member of Missouri Farm Bureau, a partner of Missouri Farmers Care.