Five things that you should know about the PMC for March 18, 2021

COVID-19 Update

All COVID protocols continue and all staff and crew are healthy. As of March 17, Washington State began allowing those working in ag in congregate settings of any adult age to receive the vaccine.  That has been passed along to the staff and crew at the PMC along with information about scheduling appointments.  They have also been offered paid time off to get the vaccine.  It was also acknowledged that getting vaccinated is not mandatory but recommended by leading health professionals. Several have made appointments or have been vaccinated so far.

Sales

Western Red Cedar and Western Hemlock
Western Red Cedar and Western Hemlock

There is not a new sales report this week. Last week’s sales report showed that sales continue to lag behind where they were last year but were remaining the second-best year to date.

It is important to note that the PMC is still receiving new orders daily and that there are still a wide variety of species available. Please check our website (wacdpmc.org) for current availability.

New sales will continue to be received through April but we expect the rate to decline through the month. Bareroot season usually ends by mid-May, although it is highly recommended to get things planted sooner than that.

Field Cleanup

Transplant bed cleanup
Transplant bed cleanup

As mentioned last week, harvest is over.

The next task is field cleanup which involves removing the last of the plants that were not harvested, cutting remaining Willow blocks, and raking up around them. That requires all of the crew who have not yet returned to their other springtime/summer jobs and takes about a week and a half. It also includes making the first weeding pass through all plants that remain for a second growing season.

It would be nice if the weeds decided not to come up but that certainly won’t be the case this year!

Transplanting

Willow bed cleanup
Willow bed cleanup

After field cleanup and the first weeding is completed the next big task is transplanting. That should begin next week and involves transplanting small conifer plugs and growing them on for one growing season, which results in a plug-1 conifer.

Most of the transplants are here, but ground and equipment prep still needs to occur. About three acres will need prepping and the transplanter brought out for another season. Nobody really knows how many seasons it has put in so far but it is a lot. It is a 6-row mechanical transplanter and requires a crew of 10: six people sitting at the planter units, one distributing plugs, and three following looking for dropped or misplanted plugs. It will take at least two weeks to plant over 250,000 plugs.

Life Goes On

Big Leaf Maple germination
Big Leaf Maple germination

It would seem reasonable to treat oneself to a break after three months of harvesting but that is not how it works in the bare root seedling business. Not only does field cleanup and transplanting need to occur, but the fall seed beds begin germinating and start needing attention.

The photo here shows the Big Leaf Maple starting to come up. The seeds were planted last fall and have remained dormant all winter. They will grow for one season and will be available next winter as a 1-year-old seedling.  They grow so vigorously that they would get too big for this operation if allowed to grow for two years.

I hope this helps.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks.

Jim Brown, WACD PMC Nursery Manager