Specialist nursery Cheviot Trees has won a 10-year contract to supply an estimated 10 million broadleaf trees to the Forestry Commission.
The Scottish Borders-based nursery will supply cell-grown trees to restock the Public Forest Estate in England and Wales, and the Welsh Government Estate. It will also be responsible for all packaging and distribution of the orders.
Cheviot managing director Harry Frew said: "Planning ahead makes life so much easier for everyone and provides an assured supply of planting stock,."
The move follows an internal review of the commission's nursery operations, allowing its nurseries' container unit to concentrate on cell-grown conifer production, saving it money as well as space.
According to the commission, Cheviot offered the best value for money against a range of evaluation criteria during a tender process.
Cheviot sales and marketing manager Jonathan Cameron said the contract will allow the company to expand its existing production by between 10 and 20 per cent, and "hopefully employ a few extra people".
He added that ash dieback has led to buyers focusing more on provenance, quality and security of supply. "We are noticing that customers are planning ahead a lot more and customers are coming to our nursery a lot more, which is great for us as we're open and transparent. It's making customers appreciate the value of UK growers."
Neither party has revealed the value of the contract but Cheviot sells cell-grown broadleaf trees for between 25p and 40p each.
A Forestry Commission representative added: "This change was initiated as part of the previous spending review and the restructuring of our plant supply is now largely completed."
"By working closely with the Forestry Commission we have tailored a contract to supply a high-quality UK grown product, at the right time and spec, to meet the commission's site objectives. At a time when nursery planning is becoming ever critical, a contract such as this enables us to structure long-term production to meet customer demands."
Harry Frew, managing director, Cheviot Trees