About Root’s Nurseries, Inc.
Manheim PA Plant Center
The 4th generation, brothers David Root and Dwight Root are currently operating the business which began in 1895. Started by Jacob W Root and his brother Abram, Root’s Nurseries originally specialized in fruit trees, supplying local farmers and home-owners. Shortly after the business started, Abram branched into his own business venture, which is now known as Root’s Country Market and Auction.
Jacob continued to concentrate his efforts in the nursery business, expanding the sales to include commercial orchards. As his business grew, so did the geographic sales area and eventually a sizable percentage of its sales were through mail order. As the nurseries continued to expand, Jacob strived to produce the highest quality stock available. He eventually moved the nursery to the two Root farms.
In the early ’20s, a major change began to reshape the direction of the nursery industry in Lancaster County, as well as many other areas.With an influx of new diseases and insects which fruit trees were particularly susceptible to, it became too costly and labor intensive for home owners and farmers to care for small orchards. Most fruit production was picked up by a few larger commercial orchards. As the demand for fruit trees decreased, Roots began a gradual transition to ornamental nursery production.
With the change in production, Roots still maintained their dedication to grow quality landscape material, and added a landscape department to the business to offer professional design and planting services.
When the company incorporated, Jacob’s son, Clyde K. Root, was named office manager, and B.R. Kreider, Jacob’s brother-in-law, headed up the landscape department.
With the establishment of the Pennsylvania Nurserymen’s Association in 1904, Roots once again demonstrated their commitment to the profession when they joined as a Charter Member. Jacob later served as a President in 1923.
In the late ’30s and throughout World War II, Clyde operated his own landscape business and later added a garden center. His son J. Clyde Root joined the business in 1948 and two years later his son-in-law Clarence Shenk began working there.
Jacob sold his interest in Root’s Nurseries to the succeeding generations in 1966, providing for the continuity of the business. J. Clyde Root purchased the business from his father 10 years later and expanded the nursery operation to another recently purchased farm.
A Monumental event occured during J. Clyde’s tenure in the family operation. In 1984, Roots was presented a National Landscape Award from the American Association of Nurserymen. The award was presented by First Lady Nancy Reagan in the Rose Garden of the White House. Given to 21 companies, the award honors those making a contribution to the environmental design. The Roots were recognized for work on Steinman Park in Lancaster.
David K. Root, the son of J. Clyde, entered the business in 1975 and assumed a managerial role in both nursery production and landscaping. He graduated from Penn State’s Horticultural School.
J. Clyde’s youngest son, Dwight L. Root, graduated from Temple University, Amber Campus with a degree in landscape design. He was recipient of the Pennsylvania Nurserymen’s Association Scholastic Award. Since joining the business in 1988, Dwight has concentrated on residential landscape design and sales, dramatically increasing that aspect of the business.
Today, the business is owned by David, who is the President, and Dwight, who is the Secretary/Treasurer. J. Clyde passed away in March 2016.
The business specializes in residential and commercial landscaping, retail and wholesale tree sales. The nursery is located on 100 acres, planted primarily with shade, flowering and evergreen trees.
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