How to select a quality nursery

  • Employs professional staff that provide a high level of customer service and possess strong horticultural knowledge and experience.
  • Nursery stock is consistent in quality and durable, free of disease, weeds, and pests. 
  • Nursery follows ANSI standards for (a) measuring plants, (b) specifying and stating the size of plants, (c) determining the proper relationship between height and caliper, or height and width, (d) determining whether a root ball or container is large enough for a particular size plant, and (e) pruning.
  • Offer a diverse selection of healthy plants suitable for your zone with excellent loading and shipping practices, including the timing of delivery.
  • Licensed and compliant with the State of Illinois Department of Agriculture and USDA APHIS plant protection and quarantine standards.
  • Does not propagate, transport, or distribute plants into states where those plants are regulated as invasive.
  • Maintains an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan and employs state-licensed pesticide applicators to apply chemicals when necessary.
  • Employs staff who are properly trained & qualified to operate machinery used in the growing and handling of plant material. Provides safety training to promote safe use of equipment and proper use of personal protective equipment.
  • Complies with all state and federal labor laws, and EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standards.
  • They are a member of the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA).


  • ILCA Nurseries Tree List

    The following list of trees is intended to assist buyers in their selection and purchase process. The list was prepared and reviewed by Illinois certified nurseries that are members of the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA).

    The list is composed of trees commonly grown by local nurseries, and it will be subject to periodic review and revision as new varieties become available to producers. Not every genus or cultivar is reflected in this list, but rather the most common ones grown in nurseries to date.

    Trees that are in limited production are noted. These trees are harder to find either due to production difficulties or limited liner stock availability. Trees that are native to the Midwest are also noted as such.

    Buyers are encouraged to contact growers directly for assistance with selecting the appropriate trees for their planting projects.

  • ILCA Membership Directory

    Buyers are encouraged to contact nurseries directly for assistance with selecting the right trees for their planting projects. Our member directory will help you locate nurseries.

Why buying at your local garden center or nursery is best.

Professionals at your local garden center or greenhouse are passionate about helping you find plants to make your garden thrive.

Local garden centers grow the plants they stock or source them from area nurseries. Those plants receive proper care to stay healthy until they come home with you. Locally purchased plants are a natural home for wildlife and a healthier ecosystem.

Local garden centers stock plants for many gardening styles and have generations of knowledge to bring you plants easier to maintain and that are on the cutting edge of new varieties and disease resistance.

Locally-owned garden centers and nurseries employ your neighbors and support the community with sponsorships, events, and seminars. Buy plants locally and resources funnel back into the community.