Tony Evans trims trees recently at Evans Pines Nursery, the business he and his wife Amy run in Albany. The couple started the business a few years ago as they began to prepare for retirement. (The Commercial Review/Rose Skelly)
Tony Evans trims trees recently at Evans Pines Nursery, the business he and his wife Amy run in Albany. The couple started the business a few years ago as they began to prepare for retirement. (The Commercial Review/Rose Skelly)
A few years ago, Tony and Amy Evans decided to start preparing for retirement.

For most people, that means padding their 401ks. For the Evans, that meant buying trees — 5,000 of them. 

The couple’s business, Evans Pines Nursery, is currently in its fourth year of operation. It’s located on their farm of about 80 acres in rural Albany. 

They decided on a tree nursery because they have experience in the landscaping business. For the past 25 years, they’ve helped out Amy’s dad, Jim Hobson, each year at Hobson’s Christmas Tree Farm, also located in Albany. 

Amy and Tony are hoping their business will become profitable by the time they’re ready to retire. Tony is employed by E&B Paving, and Amy works from home as a website developer. 

“I wanted a project that when I retired could keep me busy and have a little income,” Tony said. 

They have six types of pine trees available at the farm, which can be used for windbreaks, privacy screens or individual planting. Most of their customers are private homeowners who want to plant on their home property, Tony said. 

The Evans sell their trees potted, which is an advantage over the traditional burlap sack trees are typically sold in, he added. 

“There’s less transplant shock,” Tony said. “You’re not digging the tree up and shocking it twice, it only goes through a little bit of shock when you plant it.”

Potted trees are also easier to handle, as trees wrapped in burlap generally take two or more people to life. 

The trees come from a wholesaler in Michigan, and are about 6 to 12 inches tall when the Evans buy them. They have to grow for a minimum of one year before they’re ready to sell to be planted. 

Right now is a busy time of year for the couple. Evans Pines Nursery just opened for the season, and will remain open until the first weekend of December. Many people are eager to plant trees and excited to plant in the spring, but trees can be planted all the way through November. It’s actually better for the trees and easier for the homeowners, Tony said. 

“If you plant a tree you have to water it every seven to 10 days the first year,” he added. “So if you plant it in April, you’ve got a lot of watering to do.” 

The weather is also typically more moderate in the fall, which can help the tree adjust. But Tony said he understands the gardening bug that comes with spring. 

On a recent, windy, April day, Tony and Amy were outside on their property at 11290 E. Gregory Road working. Tony had just picked up an order of trees from Michigan that needed to be potted, planned for the following weekend. 

The Albany natives each work about 40 hours a week on the farm, in addition to their regular jobs.

Usually it’s just the two of them, but on weekends when they have to pot a large shipment they hire local teenagers. 

“And all the family members we can shame into helping us,” Tony said with a laugh. 

The couple weaved through rows of trees, trimming each to help shape it so it would grow nicely. 

Being together was one of the reasons they settled on the tree nursery in the first place, along with the farm being an outdoor-focused activity and a stress-reliever. 

“We do it together,” Tony said. “It’s enjoyable for us to watch the trees grow and prosper.”