Blue Ridge Country September/October 2020 - 49

Maples, maples, maples. The nursery is full and flourishing.

MRMAPLE'S

HOW-TO
TIPS FOR PLANTING
YOUR FIRST MAPLE TREE

Matt and Tim Nichols share a
beginner's guide to choosing and
planting the right maple tree for
your lawn.
1. Consider your space. Look
at how much room you want to
fill, and plan accordingly, taking
into account how tall the tree will
grow over time. Trees at MrMaple can range from 3 feet to 30.
2. Pick the right location. Matt
says the No. 1 rule is "no wet
feet." Maple trees prefer welldrained soil, so choose a spot in
your yard that's away from water.
3. Don't plant too deep.
Japanese maples like to be slightly
raised. Dig the hole so the top of
the root ball is just barely above
the surface of the ground. After
that, with good care and sunshine, nature will do the rest. -CR

Shishigashira

Y

ou could say it's in their blood.
From an early age, Matt and
Tim Nichols were planting trees,
cleaning up pollution and exploring trails in their hometown of East Flat Rock, North
Carolina. Now co-owners of a
local maple nursery with an international
reach, they'll tell you their passion for the
land and this iconic tree was inherited.
"We grew up in horticulture," Tim says.
"Our father had a hobby selling Japanese
maples every Saturday at the old Dreamland Drive-In flea market. We would dig
up Johnny Jump Up flowers from the yard
and sell succulents in his booth so we'd
have money to buy comic books and action figures."
Decades earlier, back in the '50s, their
grandmother began planting maple trees
in her yard, mostly from seeds picked up
on visits to Charleston, South Carolina.
"Tim and I grew up getting off the bus
and working in Grandmother's garden,"
Matt recalls. "She grew as many as her

Shiraname

property would permit. She never grew
them commercially - though many landscapers stopped and offered her thousands
of dollars for her trees."
Most are still standing today, larger and
more magnificent than ever, at the Nichols family home. Tim points out an Inaba
Shidare tree his grandmother planted, its
lace-like crimson leaves making an umbrella over the pond. Nearby, a dwarf Mikawa yatsubusa Japanese maple the brothers planted reaches nearly 14 feet, thanks
to its age.
In 1994, Matt got his first job, selling
daylilies at the Curb Market in Hendersonville. He learned even more about horticulture and discovered a knack for helping shoppers find the right plant, saving
up enough to buy his first car. Tim took
over the job a few years later, putting his
earnings toward their first computer.
The two found other ways to enjoy and
give back to the land. They went on hiking and camping trips. They cleaned and
tested a local creek that had been polluted
by a company. Eventually, wildlife began
returning to the area.
"Our nursery now relies on groundwater not too far from Back Fork Creek for
irrigation," says Tim, who, along with
Matt, continues to test the creek. "This
has caused us to be very environmentally
conscious at the nursery as well."
Not every pair of brothers can go into
business together, but for Matt and Tim it
was the most natural thing in the world.
"I love working with my brother," Matt

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

49



Blue Ridge Country September/October 2020

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