Plant Materials Center Update: May 5, 2022

Here are 5 things that you should know about the PMC for May 5, 2022:

End of 2021-22 Sales Season

The 2021-22 harvest, sales, and shipping season has come to an end. It began with live stakes in October and ramped up to bare root harvest on December 1st. In 4+ months 2,153,162 stems were harvested and processed. Along the way 3 weeks were lost due to frozen ground, one tense week of nearby flooding, a surge in COVID and as spring approached the loss of seasonal employees to their other jobs.

The challenges were offset by minimal equipment and facilities breakdowns, record-smashing sales (see below), and a dedicated staff. It seems like a good time to stop and reflect on these accomplishments but the growing season is upon us and losing time during harvest has put that behind schedule. Onward and forward.

Sales

The 2021-22 sales season was one for the record books. The season started with a projected sales budget goal of $1,209,000 and finished with actual sales at $1,559,025. Sales eclipsed the best year ever of $1,160,682 last year by $398,343. That is quite an accomplishment that was achieved by an outstanding team (see below). Some of the highlights of this year’s sales figures include $875,168 for deciduous trees and shrubs, $289,745 in conifers, and $274,467 of live stakes.

Meet the Team

Here are the people who played key roles in getting through a record smashing season:

  • Jon Hagen, who is our seasonal warehouse person, built an unprecedented number of diverse orders.
  • Maria Rivera, our Crew Supervisor kept the crew running smoothly and in good spirits.
  • Bill Mulder, the Farm Operations Supervisor kept the lifting operation going strong through to the end, as well as maintaining the equipment and facilities.
  • Lori McLaughlin, the Administrative Assistant and HR lead did a great job of keeping up on deposits, invoicing and an ever-changing HR environment.
  • John Knox, the Assistant Manager supported the processing line from one end to the other as well as helping Jon with all of his orders.
  • Jacquie Gauthier, the Sales Manager handled a record number of increasingly complicated and ever-changing sales orders remarkably well.
  • Jim Brown, the Director of Nursery Operations…I was able to maintain my sanity more or less.

There is a larger cast of characters who played important roles but the PMC staff faced these challenges all day, every day. Kudos to everyone and all of their efforts, and now it is time to move on.

Transplanting

The spring transplanting season is almost complete. It would have been completed today but the rain got in the way. The weather has not dealt us too many favors this year so far. Hopefully the weather is better tomorrow and that task can be counted as concluded with over 250,000 plants destined to become next year’s plug-1 transplants.

Upcoming

Here is the shortlist of what will be happening to get the growing season back on schedule:

  • Weed control, which includes spraying selective preemergent herbicides, cultivating and hand weeding everything else.
  • Spread chicken manure on fallow fields and plant a barley cover crop to get the ground ready for next year.
  • Prepare for spring seed planting season. In mid-May all of the conifers grown from seed will be planted as well as several species of deciduous trees and shrubs.
  • Lay out irrigation pipe and check out pumps, valves, and underground lines.
  • Generate availability and pricing for next year and start entering orders, of which there are more than ever before for this time of year.
  • Work on budget for fiscal year 2022-23 which begins July 1.
  • Catch up on equipment and facility maintenance.
  • Begin this year’s pest and disease control program.
  • A variety of things not yet imagined.

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

Jim Brown
Director of Nursery Operations