Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall Tree Harvest is Here

We all have been anticipating the fall tree harvest. With the increase in demand, trees in different varieties, sizes and quantities have been a little tougher to find compared to years past. Now that demand for trees is up a bit, Loma Vista has expanded their container growing operation to accommodate these needs. 

One of the many positives of container grown trees is that it should allow for more availability year round. Planning and planting around spring harvest and fall harvest are things of the past with container trees.

What a change from only a few years ago, when there were huge surpluses of trees. Tree growers and liner growers were bulldozing, burning and giving them away at tree auctions across the country to move them out of their inventories. Hopefully, the uptick in demand is a sign of good things to come economically. And, hopefully, tree growers will not ever again think about bulldozing and burning piles of trees ever again.

Please call (913-897-7010) or email me if you would like a tour of our tree fields and container farm. 
Steve Bridges, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery 

Good Night Sweet Prince

It's been a beautiful fall and winter is not yet upon us. But, it's on its way and that means it's time to be putting plants to bed.

Just about everything above ground is given some form of protection. For the majority of the plants that entails being placed in a structure and the structure covered with plastic. The nursery has nearly 200 permanent houses. But, that is only sufficient for a portion of the crops. We erect temporary houses, of varying sizes, for much of the balance. How many, I have no idea. Perhaps on a slow day in the middle of winter I'll take a count.

Deciduous material can often be laid over and covered with row crop cloth and plastic. Evergreens, such as junipers, are put together can to can in big blocks. Once the plants are fully dormant (this of course depends on the weather), they will be fine until spring arrives with little or no watering. The biggest dangers are very low temperatures that stay below freezing day and night, which can kill roots.

All this plant movement highlights the benefit of pot-in-pot production, as the roots are below ground, and thus are not as likely to be damaged. 

The next challenge will be in spring when the warm temperatures under the plastic can start waking things up too early. But, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Until then, the next few weeks will keep us busy enough.

"And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"  (Hamlet by William Shakespeare)

Roadshow Recap

Proven Winners was in town with their roadshow promoting plants for 2014. We were very excited to see that we many of the flowering shrubs we have in production were promoted at the event:
Livin' La Vida Rose
Big Lifeberry Goji Berry (Lycium)
Let's Dance Hydrangeas
Livin' La Vivda Rose
Bloomerang Dark Purple Lilac
Oso Easy Lemon Zest Rose
Judy Sharpton, always a lively speaker, shared her marketing tips for garden centers starting off with a definition of:
Brand - infuse a commodity with promise and personality
Here's a few of her suggestions for building consumer brand confidence and increasing sales:
Creating a Store Within a Store
Signage Helps Buying Decisions
National Brands Support Store's Brand and Personality
Color Sells
Asking Customers "Do They Need?"
Merchandising for Easy Access to Products
Stocking Signature Items

Susan Mertz, Director of Marketing, Loma Vista Nursery

What's happening with the conifers?

Photo courtesy of University of Nebraska
Lincoln Extension
Fall color is in full swing and the nip in the air has my bird dog eager to get in the truck and travel.
Evergreens are in the fall needle drop and the phones are ringing with customers asking what's wrong, why is the spruce dying? Some customers will panic but it is a natural part of the plant's cycle. Yellowing of third year needles on the inside of the plant is the usual sign that the plant is shedding old growth. To learn more about evergreens and needle drop, go to University of Nebraska - Lincoln Extension Natural Needle Drop.
With cooler temperatures and shorter days, the plants are beginning to slow down and shut down for winter. Digging season will be underway after this good soaking rain and the nursery will fill up again with fresh dug trees.
Have a great planting season and good luck with the sprint to the finish of the year.
By Don Mann, Kansas Certified Arborist and Certified Chemical Applicator, Loma Vista Nursery