Photo courtesy of Nativ Nurseries

Toxey Haas operates a roster of companies that caters to the outdoor enthusiast. As the founder of one of the biggest names in camouflage, his Mossy Oak brand was associated with several products including apparel, food for whitetail deer and a popular television show. Since Haas spends more time outdoors than in a boardroom, it’s no surprise the inspiration to start a nursery hit him while he was in the woods.

Haas, a life-long conservationist, often noticed deer favoring a particular tree in a stand of the same species. He’d take note of the characteristics of these preferred trees, whether it was late or early acorn drop, or a tree with exceptional vigor. Haas collected seed from many of these trees and grew them in his backyard for his own properties. He realized this was a product that many of the consumers loyal to his brand would buy, and Nativ Nurseries was born.

“Toxey has always been fascinated with trees and plants that benefit wildlife,” says Dudley Phelps, brand manager at Nativ Nurseries.

Now in its 10th year, Nativ Nurseries sells seedlings – straight species and hybrids – online direct to the consumer. The nursery continues to collect most of its own seed with the same eye for characteristics that benefit wildlife.

“We found a Quercus virginiana that drops acorns from November to January – an unusual trait for the species. We call it Late Drop live oak,” Phelps says.

Nativ Nurseries also selects trees that are suitable for land management and restoration.

“Our Rainmaker oak is a hybrid of overcup and white oak that we discovered in the nursery,” Phelps explains. “We noticed this tree producing mass at a younger age. It’s got the vigor of overcup and the adaptability of the white oak.”

The nursery’s primary focus revolves around protecting, restoring and preserving the natural environment. The nursery also sells products for mitigation projects and pollinator habitats.

Nativ’s products, called Rapid Mast seedlings, are one-year seedlings grown in air root pruning containers, which are easy to ship, Phelps adds.

Many of Nativ Nurseries’ selections are from the Southeast, but the company has a large network of employees who collect seed from several areas of the country.

“We have a hybrid oak from Central Missouri and a bur oak from Northern Iowa,” says Phelps. “We appreciate the variability and diversity found in all of our selections.”

No matter how many beneficial characteristics a tree possesses, it still has to survive once it’s planted. Nativ Nurseries has built a large library of education resources so consumers choose the correct plant for their particular space, and to use the correct methods for planting and maintaining it. These are housed on the nursery’s website and YouTube channel.

“We cover all sorts of topics on our YouTube channel, providing every opportunity to help our customer be successful, from how to heel in a tree, how to plant, how to maintain, even how to graft,” Phelps says.

Being in the family of all the Mossy Oak companies, the nursery has a popular and widely recognized brand to help not only sell trees, but sell the idea of conservation.

“There’s no denying it. Having that brand is huge for us,” Phelps says. “Most everyone that follows our brand likes to be outdoors and wants to improve their property.”

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