Our Story

Lisa and Lou Caracciolo

Shade Trees Nursery was first started by my father & mother almost 50 years ago with the purchase of an over grown twenty acre farm field on Herricks Lane in Jamesport. My father worked tirelessly clearing the field with an old Ford 8N tractor and a cultivator going up & down the field for weeks until all the brush had been cleared and the farm ready to plant. At the time, my father was a landscape contractor, bidding on contracts for Nassau County, New York State, NYC parks Department and also commercial and residential projects. He worked all over the state and had completed contracts for projects like Stony Brook University, the Worlds Fair in Flushing Meadows Park, Van Cortland Park, Prospect Park, the NY Aquarium in Queens and countless others.

His dream was to have his own nursery to grow his own plant materials for his projects. He first planted shade trees as these were in high demand for his NY City Street planting project, which is how we got our name, "Shade Trees Nursery." He later started to grow many sea shore plants such as beach plum, cratagus, black pine, buckthorne, hibiscus and more for his projects on the South Shore of Long Island. Soon, other retailers and landscapers learned of his growing operation and he began to sell plant materials wholesale to the trade. He was proud of his plant material and became known as a quality grower and plantsman by his peers. 

I grew up in the nursery. That doesn’t mean to say I always worked in it. Sometimes my father would grab me off my Honda dirt bike and put me to work. Starting with a hoe, then learning to dig trees (by hand…no tree spade machines then), staking trees, plowing fields and then, when he felt I wouldn’t screw up his plants; pruning trees. Which was an honor at the time.

Once college age, I resisted the family nursery business, starting my education in finance. After further consideration, and a little pressure, I began my education in Horticulture and attended the University of Georgia and SUNY Farmingdale. Always working and learning at the nursery during my education time. It was at college I met my wife, Lisa, who would later play a key role in our successes and share in our defeats. Lisa was attending Farmingdale in the floriculture department.

Once I graduated, I began to manage the wholesale growing operation. After a few years, I decided to purchase a Skid Steer and tree spade machine so we could dig material by machine to become more efficient. It was at that time my father took one look at what I had bought and said, “I hope you know what you’re doing, because I am retiring.” “Dig plants by machine…he must be crazy”…I am sure were his thoughts. But, he gave me his blessing and off I went. My sister Judy and brother-in-law Lou, worked with me at the time and I am forever grateful to them for their support and assistance. They later decided to go different routes and pursue careers in other fields. My Mom has always been the “silent supporter’ and is always there for encouragement and good advise. Especially, “don’t work as hard as your father did.”

Soon we purchased an additional 35 acres down the road. I wanted to expand our product mix and our market. As the years went on, Lisa became involved at the nursery and took over the office duties after my sister left. We soon started a family and had two children, Myles and Rebecca. Lisa managed to be a wonderful Mom and still work tirelessly at the nursery. We were fortunate enough to continue to grow and were in need of more land. In 1997, we purchased a farm on the Main Road in Jamesport, where we would later move our Main office to as well as open a retail garden center. We continued to be blessed with the support of our customers and in 2000 purchased another farm in Mattituck and a few years later another in Jamesport. We now farm 130 acres and grow over 400 varieties of plants. About 10 years ago, we decided to experiment with growing trees in containers so we could expand our selling season to include the summer. What started as an experiment with 500 trees has now expanded to over 25,000 trees a year as well as a full line of container shrubs that include hydrangea, roses, spirea, viburnum and more. We now sell plant materials to the finest garden centers & landscape contractors throughout the Northeast.

Lou Sr. in 2013, on the same 8N Ford Tractor he started the nursery with in 1964.

Lou Sr. in 2013, on the same 8N Ford Tractor he started the nursery with in 1964.

In 2015 we completed construction of our new Retail Garden Shop and Farm Market and redesigned our Garden Center.  Our new shop is a totally unique experience that includes our North Breeze Farms line of home made food products which include honeys, farm fresh eggs, a variety of jams and jellies, hot sauce, fresh made donuts, local wines and cheeses and much more.  We also offer beautiful indoor plants, fresh cut flowers, great garden accessories, unique gift items, jewelry, bird and pet items, organic plant care products and so much more.  Our garden center carries a huge line of plant materials, fresh "cut your own" herbs, soil products, pottery and garden items and offers a knowledgeable and friendly staff.  Landscape design and installation services are offered as well.

We are also home to North Fork Saddlery which carries a complete line of horse tack, apparel, horse health care products and more for the competitive or casual rider or those looking for equestrian fashion.

In 2015 our son Myles decided to come on board full time and now is training to manage our wholesale division.  We are excited to have him with us and wish him all the best in his future with us.

We have been blessed with the support of our customers and the dedication of our staff and hope we will continue to grow our 'Finest Quality Plants’ for many years to come.

Shade Trees Nursery • 1875 Main Road Jamesport NY, 11947 • (631)722-4041 • info@shadetreesnursery.com