Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Maintaining a Healthy Plant


Our goal is to offer high quality plants to our customers, plain and simple.  This not only includes great form, but health and vigor also.  While all these really go hand in hand, pruning is most recognized through the immediate visual impact a plant has when it lands on your property.  However, there is a whole world of activity to keep our plants happy and stress free (well, as much reduced stress as possible when considering Kansas weather) during their production cycle.

Fertilization:  During our potting process, we incorporate slow release fertilizer that is made to gradually make nutrients available throughout the growing season.  This aids in preventing over fertilization which results in root damage if not plant death.  It also ensures the plant has the appropriate level and mixture of nutrients needed to maintain vigor.


fertilizing perennials 

We also topdress our plants in the spring with other slow release fertilizers to keep the supply of nutrients available after they have reached salable size.


Pest and Disease Control:  We make every effort to keep the maladies off the plants throughout their production.  From a fungal disease standpoint, this entails understanding the parameters at which a disease will develop and apply preventative sprays during that time of susceptibility. 

Insects are less predictable.  We work closely with K-State and other Co-horts in the industry to understand a particular pest's life cycle and apply controls that are the most effective while not impacting the surrounding organisms.  However, these controls only occur when the pest is present and not as a prophylactic treatment.


watering the crops 
Water:  Water is king. I once read that water is the best growth regulator available.  While I cannot attest as to whether that is absolutely true or not, there is some validity.  Its quantity and quality can drastically impact a plant's performance and health.  We closely monitor our irrigation practices making sure we give the plant what it needs, no more or no less.  Also, water samples are collected and analyzed by an outside to company to monitor the chemistry.  There are many compounds in irrigation water.  By understanding their concentration and impact on a plant's growth, we are able to manipulate other inputs such as growing media and fertilizer analysis to augment or subdue our irrigation water's impact on the plant.

By Ben Cecil, Operations Manager

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