Mature trees and shrubs are assets that require a significant amount to time to create, so it is natural to wince at times when a project calls for the removal of one.
More often than not, these plants are unfortunately destroyed to make way for new construction or the renovation of a space. Yet Re-Tree, a new operating division of Green Acres Tree Farm, Inc. based in Pontiac, Michigan, is working to prevent this from happening.
“Re-Tree is essentially just an extension of what we are already doing at Green Acres Tree Farm on a more unique, sustainable scale,” says Dennise Vidosh, founder of Re-Tree. “We are capturing inventory that exists at the home of millions of Americans that may otherwise be destroyed in the construction process. We are using innovation as a solution, offering unique, sustainable nursery products that will have a positive impact on our planet, people and communities.”
Re-Tree provides a web-based application where both landscape contractors and homeowners can upload an image, description and contact information about a tree or shrub that is being removed.
A Re-Tree representative will set up a meeting to assess the accessibility and ultimate value of the plant based on factors such as the size and species.
Once this is determined, the seller pays a minimal fee for the use of the Re-Tree app to upload the tree in the catalog. Re-Tree’s catalog can be searched by landscape contractors and landscape architects nationwide to find the mature plant material they need.
“We have had a tremendous amount of response among landscape architects nationwide,” Vidosh says. “There is a demand for unique specimen mature trees and shrubs. Re-Tree is creating an additional layer of exclusivity in which the trees and shrubs are also repurposed and sustainable.”
When the plant material is sold, a percentage of the sale price goes to Re-Tree and they rebate a portion of the app usage fee back to the contractor or homeowner.
Thanks to Re-Tree’s sister company Green Acres Tree Farm’s experience as a grower and supplier of mature trees for over 35 years, the business is well-versed in the handling and care required for the transplanting and holding process of the trees.
“Our goal at Re-Tree once it gains momentum is to move the majority of the trees from point A (seller location) to point B (buyer location) with minimal handling or holding time above ground,” she says. “This will ensure that the tree or shrub retains the most robust state possible during the transplanting process.”
Re-Tree places the tree in the catalog before they dig up the plant in hopes that a buyer will be lined up already by the time they carry out the removal so the tree can immediately be transported to its new home rather than taken back to their 3-acre above ground facility for holding.
Currently, Re-Tree is available for those in Michigan, but it plans to expand into the greater Chicago area by spring or summer 2019.
“Our market studies show us that the major cities and metropolitan areas in the United States are the most prolific sources for Re-Tree plant material,” Vidosh says. “We have analyzed 25 major cities and uncovered a significant inventory of unique trees and shrubs that can be replaced and repurposed.”
Vidosh says Re-Tree will grow at a pace that ensures it can keep its process consistent and will expand into other cities as more people become familiar with the business.
As for the survival rate of the replanted trees, Re-Tree says it often isn’t involved in the planting process, but if the tree is planted properly by the buyer, the mortality rate is less than one percent at both Green Acres Tree Farm and Re-Tree.
“I really believe this is a significant need,” Vidosh says. “With all the construction and renovations that are going on across the United States, we have an inventory shortage for plants right now and I think that this can help contribute to inventory as well as repurposing and not cutting down so many trees in this process of construction. Repurposing them on other jobsites is a win-win for everybody.”