Thursday, April 16, 2015 12:01 am
A haven for Japanese maples
For unusual cultivars and garden statuary, head for Davidsan’s, a tree-lover’s paradise
For tree lovers and connoisseurs of Japanese maples in particular, Davidsan’s, at 919 S. Farmingdale Road near New Berlin, is a paradise. David and Gale Myers’ 22-acre tree farm is the largest Japanese maple nursery in the Midwest.
Davidsan’s offers 400 different varieties, including unusual types of beeches, larches, ginkgos, oaks and other obscure cultivars. They have 6,000 trees in stock currently. “Our customers come from Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City, even California,’” David Myers said. “Some are collectors. Most people find us through our website.”
Davidsan’s opened for business in 2014 and enjoyed a successful first year. Closed since last November, the nursery opened recently for the 2015 season. The nursery has 19 shade houses full of balled and burlapped trees, as well as a large inventory of granite and marble statuary from China. New this year is an area for packing and shipping trees.
The business grew from David’s hobby of raising Japanese maples for many years. After planting cultivars at their home on Old Jacksonville Road for some time, David and Gale began selling them.
The Myers’ three-year-old chocolate lab, Eli, enjoys his role greeting customers as well as keeping the mice and rabbit population under control. Darwin, a 10-year-old husky mix, also patrols the grounds.
“Japanese maples do well around here,” David said. “They don’t like being wet, and they do like afternoon shade. They’re pretty tough trees.”
Known for carrying unusual varieties, Davidsan’s even carries varieties of the rare Franklinia tree, all of which were grafted from the original tree in Benjamin Franklin’s yard, according to tree lore, Gale said. The Franklinia has blooms like the dogwood or magnolia. In fact it was bred in Philadelphia in the late 1700s by William Bartram and named for his father’s dear friend, Benjamin Franklin, according to Wikipedia.
The sycamore maple, or Acer pseudoplatanus, can be found at Davidsan’s. During the summer the leaf has a burgundy underside, which makes the tree look psychedelic, Gale said. The nursery carries the paper bark maple too, known for its rich coppery brown bark.
The nursery’s inventory includes horse chestnuts, Katsura trees, cypresses and dwarf and weeping beeches.
And plenty of variegated species, even variegated ginkgos and conifers. Gale suggests Jacobsen’s Golden Norway Spruce, which is yellow on top of green needles. “Even on a cloudy day it looks like the sun is shining down on it from above,” Gale said. The Japanese umbrella pine is the oldest living plant fossil, even older than the ginkgo, according to David. Davidsan’s carries some that are quite pricey, at $800.
“Ginkgoes are good for this area because they bud later,” David said. All of Davidsan’s ginkgoes are grafted from male trees, avoiding the infamous stinky smell of the female ginkgo. “We even have a ginkgo that spirals and twists around itself,” Gale said.
Some customers buy so much that they show up with their own trailers to load their purchases. A customer from Paris, Illinois, who bought some 30 trees brought a trailer to haul the trees the 120 miles home.
With 22 acres, Davidsan’s has room to expand. “We’d like to have solar and wind power eventually so that the place can be sustainable,” David said. “We’re better known outside Springfield than we are here,” David said.
For more information call 217-341-5904 or see www.davidsansjapanesemaples.com. Davidsan’s is open 10-6 Monday through Saturday and 12-5 on Sunday.