Production and Management
Water for irrigation is provided by a 225 gpm well with delivery via a network of 6000 feet of 4 inch underground PVC pipe. This water is then channeled in a variety of ways from using Big Guns or laterals or drip tape depending upon the crops' needs.
A Winter cover crop of annual cereal rye is planted throughout the nursery to prevent soilerosion and reduce compaction. A summer cover crop of Sorghum is used in fallowed fields. The cover crops provides organic matter to keep the soil fertile and it also inhibits nutrient loss by absorbing what would perhaps otherwise become unavailable for to the plants.
A limited amount of herbicides is used for weed control and we believe that cultivating helps stimulate compact root growth. We rely upon hydraulic grapehoes and disks for a summer clean out before applying preemergence herbicides. We also use RoundUp for spot control of summer weeds.
We propagate the majority of the plants we grow with the exception of some shade or flowering trees and understock for grafting. We are selective in the plants we purchase or propagate wtih an eye towards quality.
Once rooted, the liners are either potted in 2 7/8 x 5" pots and grown in shade houses or lined out in nursery rows for approximately two years. The two year old potted liner is then planted in nursery rows. From the nursery rows, the plants are then spaced for finishing. This however is not always the last step as often the more mature and larger sized plants require additional transplanting. All this seems like and is a lot of effort which results in increased production time but we strongly feel that the road to quality is the transplanting and root pruning to promote a compact, fibrous root system. This also allows us to cull at each stage and have produce higher quality plants in the finished fields. Another benefit is a resultant more dense, compact foliage. Transplant shock is also reduced or non-existant.
The plants are harvested by either manual or mechanical digging depending upon the size of the plant. Smaller plants (up to a 20" diameter ball) are harvested with a shovel while the larger plants are harvested via a Holmac mechanical digger. Very large plants are still hand dug. The plant balls are harvested in all cases to maximize the amount of roots root mass in the least amount of soil.
Plants are then loaded onto pallets to be brought into the staging area for shipping where we currently market 90% of our product out of state to a select clientele located in the U.S. and Canada.