Partnership Spotlight: Frazier Nursery

05-25-2017 in Green Farmstead Partner

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today!”   -Frazier Nursery

For 33 years, John Frazier’s career was in teaching, and although he fully enjoyed his time as an educator at Vinton-Shellsburg, he knew he was a farmer at heart. After retiring from teaching two years ago, John decided to devote his full attention to his business, Frazier Nursery.

Alongside his wife, Carolyn, John opened Frazier Nursery in 1995 after becoming involved in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Together, they  have been growing quality trees and shrubs ever since.

“We’ve got 185 acres of crop ground and I always wanted to stay in agriculture. This worked great because I didn’t have to have hundreds of acres and I’m still able to have a business,” says John.

After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa and working for a few years, John’s son, Alex, decided to return to the family business as well.  Alex says he recognized opportunities arising as the business grew. He returned full-time to Frazier Nursery in 2012.

Today, the family owned nursery offers a broad array of services for livestock farmers as well as homeowners.

“Probably 75% of our sales are in windbreaks around farmsteads, buildings and hedges in town,” says John.

They also offer lawn seeding services and tree spades to move or plant larger trees, but their specialty is growing large shade and ornamental trees.

John and Alex enjoy watching their customers have successful plantings as well as getting to know them on a personal level.

“One thing I’ve learned over the years is people have a tie to a certain tree, says John. For example, as a child if you climbed a sycamore tree, you could pick one out going down the highway just because you remember that bond.”.

The Fraziers believe in the necessity of trees on livestock farms and the benefits windbreaks offer such as shade or lower utility bills. They also emphasize trees add beauty to farmland while creating an aesthetically pleasing, green environment that provides protection.

“Six years ago we had a major windstorm come through Vinton and I could take you to a farmstead that didn’t have any trees and the place got blown away,” reflects John. “I could take you less than a mile away where a farmstead was surrounded by tress and show you little structural damage.”

Frazier Nursery’s partnership with the Coalition has allowed them to get to know more people from different communities throughout the 100-mile radius area they serve.

“I think the Coalition’s website has a ton of information. If people read that, not only would they be knowledgeable but they would get excited about tree planting too.” says John.

On Tuesday, June 20th, the Coalition and Frazier Nursery will be teaming up to host the Green Farmstead Partner Workshop. The theme of the event is ‘Putting Down Roots on Your Livestock Farm” and will feature tours of the nursery as well as an expert panel who will share tips on planting trees around livestock barns and feedlots. Visit for a detailed agenda and to register.

The Coalition is proud to work with Frazier Nursery as a partner in the Green Farmstead Partnership Program. For more information and professional expertise, call 1-800-932-2436 or visit

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