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Our Practices

What we believe…

Since our inception and every day, we strive to follow sound environmental, horticultural and business practices.

What we believe about water conservation…

Water is our most valuable resource.  We use drip irrigation technology that uses 75% to 80% less water compared to traditional overhead irrigation. The water is applied directly to the root zoneand is computer controlled to deliver the necessary amount for optimal growth without excess.drip irrigation 200 x 167

What we believe about water quality, runoff and treatment…

Water quality matters. What little water does flow from our nursery, along with neighboring agricultural lands is diverted into our created wetlands.  Plants absorb excess nutrients prior to discharge back to the Octoraro Creek. We’ve created our own “local water quality improvement facility” right on our nursery.

Created wetland - snow

What we believe about reuse and recycling…

Repurposing our waste is important. We accept and collect our used containers from customers where feasible.  Containers are reused when possible. If the containers are damaged or unusable, we take them to a recycling center where they are shredded and used for energy generation. We also recycle all greenhouse poly covering for use in the plastic lumber industry. We recycle office waste including paper, print, plastic and electronics.


Pole barn at Octoraro

What we believe about growing a superior plant…

It’s all about the roots. Production methods that encourage superior root development including “air-root-pruning” methods and containers produce stronger, healthier plants.  A more robust root mass improves survival rates especially when compared to bare root.

Container for seedlings

What we believe about soil mediums…

We use a soil-less medium to produce and grow our plants. We use leaf compost that supplies naturally occurring microrhizae to our medium and reduces the use of peat.

What we believe about fertilization, accelerated growth and forestry practices…

Appropriate fertilizer application enhances plant growth. We stop all fertilization by the end of July so our plants respond to normal growth cycles in early fall. The plants then “harden off” in late fall which improves plant survival over the winter months.

What we don’t believe…

Trees should not be “forced” late into the season or year-round with excessive fertilization and/or grow lights.  These plants are not properly hardened off for fall plantings.  Research shows that trees grown too fast and “pushed” to long in the nursery are more likely to fail in the environment.

What we believe about root-to-shoot ratios and container sizes…

Size matters. Sound nursery practices dictate that trees should have the proper root-to-shoot ratio in appropriate size containers. We comply with all federal and state regulations regarding proper labeling and advertising of container sizes.  We use appropriate size containers to maintain proper root- to-shoot ratios.

What we don’t believe…

Excessively tall trees and shrubs grown in small containers are susceptible to girdling roots and wind throw when planted. Research is clear that trees with excessively girdled roots will eventually die.

Tree roots and pot-in-pot

What we believe about ecological principals and regionally appropriate plants…

Right plant, right place. It is a basic ecological principal that trees of a regional provenance are better adapted to those conditions. Plants grown for environmental and conservation plantings should be sourced, grown and planted within the same physiologic and hardiness zone.

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What we have learned…

Learning and experience matter. These issues represent our beliefs and practices and are supported by what we’ve learned as an industry leader in native plant production for over 25 years.

Relationships matter. Your feedback has helped us produce consistent, quality plant material and we are grateful for loyal customers and valued relationships.

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