Appletons Tree Nursery Ltd, 1748 Main Road South, Wakefield, Nelson, Phone 03 541 8309, Fax 03 541 8007
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Welcome to Appletons

Appletons is a family owned business supplying a comprehensive range of quality deciduous, evergreen and conifer seedlings to the nursery industry.

Unique selection

We offer a comprehensive range of over 350 deciduous, native and evergreen species available in a range of sizes from 15 centimetres to 1.3 metres and as one or two year seedlings and two year old transplants.

The bulk of our trees are grown in open ground seedbeds and are supplied to our customers bare rooted. The trees are lifted and graded in the winter when they are dormant and carefully packed for dispatch without soil around the roots.

Evergreen, some deciduous and conifers are grown in Swedish developed side-slit cells which allow air pruning of the roots and prevent spiralling of roots inside the cell. The compact root system holds the bark media intact, extending the optimum planting time to include autumn and spring. These ‘plugs’ provide a good option for difficult-to-transplant evergreens, especially on drought-prone sites.


Since 1968 our nursery has grown steadily and now employs 20 very experienced and dedicated full-time staff. During the busy winter lifting season we employ an additional 20 plus seasonal staff.


Our container area is located at the Wakefield site. Plug grown plants are grown on raised tables and covered for protection from the elements, allowing delivery of plug grown plants all year round.

We are leaders in the use of fixed seedbed management and add 1500 cubic metres of compost annually to our seedbeds to increase the organic matter. This results in healthy, friable soils which grow quality trees. Our seedbeds can be nurturing up to 500 species in varying stages of production.

The Forestry Nursery was chosen for its free-draining soil and northerly aspect nestled against the Mt Heslington foothills. The 45 hectare site allows considerable scope for increased production when demand requires it, with extensive rye grass leys to rest ground between cropping cycles.

Appletons Arboretum was established 20 years ago as a future seed source, and trialling area for new species. 6500 trees from 1000 species have been planted on the 150 hectare property and seed crops are now being collected.

Innovative practices

  • Developing lateral pruning regimes to produce more compact and vigorous root systems
  • Perfecting cultural practices that produce seedlings of uniform height and diameter
  • Timing of lifting and grading for optimum dormancy
  • Precise grading and packaging to customers’ requirements.


  • NZ Forest Nursery Growers Association
  • Nursery & Garden Industry Association
  • Farm Forestry Association
  • NZ Institute of Forestry
  • International Plant Propagator’s Society
  • International Dendrology Society

The heart of Appletons' success
Our willingness to try new ideas, listen to our customers and respond to their needs

Appletons ornamental nursery

Nigel and Cory

Vicki and Claire

Robinia pseudoacacia