Octoraro Native Plant Nursery  

Kirkwood,  PA 
United States

Octoraro Native Plant Nursery celebrated 30 years of growing sustainable landscapes in 2020.  Our mission: Provide high quality eastern regional native plants for environmental restoration and conservation projects and superior customer service.  We are a wholesale container grower of woody trees and shrubs. 

We take pride in our sustainable business program promoting environmentally friendly practices.  

We are a distributor of Tubex and other forestry supplies for plant protective measures.


Octoraro Production Clip 1
Octoraro Production Clip 2

 Press Releases

  • For Immediate Release
    Contact: Jim MacKenzie (610) 742-8788

    Kirkwood, Pa. - "We at Octoraro have some exciting changes in 2021," announced Jim MacKenzie, president  of Octoraro Native Plant Nursery. "Most of this activity will occur at our newest production location affectionately called “Ticklewood.” Simply, this is because it’s the site of the former Ticklewood Nursery."

    "We are expanding our propagation facility here giving us the capacity to produce thousands of new seedlings," continued MacKenzie. "We can also produce multiple crop rotations in the same growing season."

    Additionally, Octoraro will be consolidating two satellite growing locations in Peach Bottom and Parkesburg, Pa. to Ticklewood.  

    "This will greatly improve our efficiency by reducing from four locations to two by the end of the year, siad MacKenzie. "We have room for additional expansion in the future as needed."

    Ticklewood Nursery sits on land of one of the original J. Franklin Steyer’s Nursery farms. When Steyer’s split in 1988, Daryl Lewis headed to southern Chester County to continue the growing operations while Russ Jones kept the Concordville location for the landscape division. Located in the “Nursery Capital of the World,” this area has a rich horticultural heritage. It is the home of current and former nurseries (and nursery professionals) including:

    •    Ticklewood Nursery – Paul Tickle and Norm Lehr (1994 – 2018, 24 years)
    •    Conard Pyle Company/Star Roses (now a division of Ball Hort) – Dick and Steve Hutton
    •    London Grove Nursery – Dick and Kevin Kauffman (multi-generational)
    •    Water Crest Farms - W.D. Wells, Bill H. Wells, David Wells (multi-generational)
    •    Birmingham Gardens – Chuck Feld
    •    North Creek Nurseries – Steve Castorani
    •    Green Light Plants – Dale Hendricks
    •    Natural Landscapes Nursery – Jim Plyler

    Many growers started here and moved to start their own operations. There is literally a “family tree” of growers with roots from this farm and the other Steyer’s locations.  

    "Octoraro's own Larry Joyce has a picture of his son Pat in front of the pole barn we occupy here, said MacKenzie. "Pat is now the nursery manager at Longwood Gardens. Larry returns to his roots here where he started out of high school on this farm where Steyer’s produced field grown peonies for the cut flower industry."

    "With so many growers (wholesale and retail) departing the industry over the last 10 to 15 years, it’s fun and exciting to be putting new energy and infrastructure into this historically significant nursery operation," concluded MacKenzie. "While we are using only a smaller portion of the 100 acre Ticklewood Nursery, we sense it’s happy to be utilized in growing plants for the environment once again."


  • For Immediate Release 
    Contact: Jim MacKenzie (610) 742-8788

    Kirkwood, Pa. - Octoraro president Jim MacKenzie announced several recent staff changes at the nursery.

    Diane Boyd promoted to General Manager 

    "Di now officially holds the title that in reality she’s held for many years, said MacKenzie. "For 22 years she’s been the heart and soul of Octoraro and we would not be celebrating 30 years without her energy and influence. We all wear many hats here, but none wear them with as much grace as Di."

    Paul Solomon, Propagation Manager

    MacKenzie introduced Paul Solomon, who holds a BS in Horticulture from Penn State University. Paul's career began as a member of the horticulture team for Disney World’s Epcot Center. After moving back to PA, he served as a Penn State Horticulture and Mushroom Extension agent, spent seven years as a golf course superintendent, and twenty years running his own landscape and nursery business.

    "For the last ten years, he has been a key contract grower for Octoraro," said MacKenzie. This extensive background will serve him well as he now joins our team as Propagation Manager."

    Paul and his wife Sharon enjoy spending time with their four children, spouses and now their 1st granddaughter.

    Larry Joyce, Facilities Management, IPM

    "Larry is a great addition to our team," said MacKenzie. "He brings over 30 years of experience in the green industry.  His work history includes nursery and greenhouse, design-build contracting and sales. He is coming full circle where he began his career with J. Franklin Steyer’s Nursery where we now lease the greenhouses on that original nursery property. Horticulture runs in the family as his son Pat is the Nursery Manager at Longwood Gardens."



  • Tubex Tree Shelters
    The Tubex® tree shelter improves plant survial and enhances plant growth for conservation and environmental restoration plantings....

  • The Tubex® tree shelter enhances plant growth in early stage development.  It protects your container seedlings from deer, voles, rabbits, invasive species, chemical spray, and machinery. Standard (non-vented),Combitube (vented) shelters availalbe in 4' and 5' heights. Shrub shelters (2' height) also available. Includes pre-threaded nylon ties. Best used with Octoraro "Container Seedlings." Bird nets and stakes sold separately. Please see our website www.octoraro.com for current prices and availability
  • Tree Guards
    Trunk protectors help prevent tree girdling or damage by buck rub and/or equipment damage....

  • Rigid mesh tree trunk guards help prevent girdling by buck rub, rodents or equipment damage. Open mesh construction allows water to flow freely in flood prone sites. Available in 3’, 4’ and 5’ sizes (5' special order only).  Best used with Octoraro #3, #5 and #7 gallon container trees. Nylon ties and stakes sold separately. Please see our website www.octoraro.com for current prices and availability.
  • Container Seedlings
    Small but hardy trees and shrubs for larger scale reforestation projects for the budget conscious consumer....

  • Grown in 3" square x 9" deep containers and sold in flats of 25 plants (per species), "Container Seedlings" are our smallest plant offering.  These plants are grown in air-root-pruning containers to produce a robust root system.  These plants outperform bare root plants in larger scale reforestation projects, but can also be used as liners or starter plants for potting into larger containers. Plants require protection from wildlife and other potential impacts.  Tubex tree and shrub shelters are recommmended. Please see our website www.octoraro.com for current prices and availability.
  • Stakes
    Wood and fiberglass stakes are available to support and secure your Tubex shelters and Tree guards....

  • White oak stakes are the optimal wood stake to support and secure your Tubex shelters and/or Tree guards.  True 1" x 1" stakes are sold in bundles of 25 or pallets of 1000.  They are available in 30" (shrubs shelters) and 4' and 5' lengths (tree shelters).  

    We also offer the fiberglass "UltraStake."  This 1/2" diameter stake, while more expensive than wood, can be potentially reused for more than a decade. It is sheathed and UV stabilized polypropylene fabric. They are sold in 5' and 6' lengths and come 20 per bundle. Please see our website www.octoraro.com for current prices and availability.

  • Larger Containers
    Larger Container Grown Trees and Shrubs...

  • We grow our trees and shrubs in #2, #3, #5 and #7 gallon containers in addition to our smaller "container seedlings." Our website offers the best information on current availablity, sizes and prices.  Please visit our website at www.octoraro.com

Thank you for participating in MANTS 2021! 

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