Plant Materials Center Update: August 18, 2022
Here are 5 things that you should know about the PMC for August 18, 2022:
As of 8/15/22 the PMC has booked $961,598 in sales for the upcoming sales and shipping season. That is ahead of last years record numbers when sales stood at $795,429 on 8/31/21. There is a chance that by 8/31/22 sales could reach or exceed $1,000,000. Keeping up with this pace keeps Jacquie and Lori very busy.
August is a good time to look at how the current production season is going. For the PMC, so far so good. Here are how things are looking:
- Weed Control – On schedule
- Disease Control – On schedule, despite the cool, damp weather which promoted more diseases than usual.
- Pest Control – On schedule.
- Root Culturing – On schedule.
- Irrigation Management – Ongoing but tapering off to begin dormancy induction on some species.
- Seed Collections: One of the challenges operating a bare root seedling nursery is that there are activities to produce plants for the current season (see above) and getting ready for future growing seasons. Seed collecting is one example of planning for the future. Seed collections for many of the species that the PMC grows from seed have been completed. Wild species can produce varying amounts of seed from year to year. Occasionally one or two species will fail to produce much seed regionally. As a result, the PMC is occasionally not able to offer those species in a given year. There have been some spot shortages this year so far but the collectors are working on finding what they can. Exactly what these shortages amount to has yet to be determined but should be manageable.
The PMC is finishing its Baldhip Rose seed collection which was average and is currently working on Black Hawthorn and Beaked Filbert, both of which are a little better than average. Mock Orange, Blue Elderberry, Pea Fruit Rose, Snowberry and Pacific Crabapple are on the horizon.
This is another activity that focuses on planning for the future and must be done concurrently with current production season activities. The PMC will begin its fall seed planting in September. In order to have ground to plant on the PMC must first determine what ground it needs. That ground receives an application of chicken manure which is incorporated into the soil. A cover crop of barley is grown through the summer. It is now time to work the barley into the soil, but before that can happen the ground must be irrigated so that the soil can be worked better. Irrigation is conducted using an irrigation reel. Both of those activities have been happening this week and should be finished next week.
Fungus on the Farm
Fungus can be the friend or the enemy of a grower depending on the fungus. Some fungi are pathenogenic and can harm or kill plants. Others are beneficial and form symbiotic relationships with plants. These fungi are collectively known as Mycorrhizae. The mycorrhizal fungi grow into the roots of host plants and get sugars from its host. What makes this relationship symbiotic is that the fungi increase the plants capacity to take up water and nutrients from the soil. There is also increasing evidence that mycorrhizal fungi can increase the plants resistance to pests and diseases. There is also increasing information suggesting that a group of plants can use a common mycorrhizal network to communicate between one another. It is thought that one plant can inform others of stress or other issues such as herbivory. Furthermore, it has been hypothesized plants within these networks are able to transfer moisture, nutrients and biochemicals to the plants under stress or attack. These latter attributes of mycorrhizal fungi are not yet fully understood nor proven.
Regardless of the range of benefits that plants get from mycorrhizae, it is a worthwhile symbiosis and the PMC inoculates its plants with a variety of mycorrhizal fungi species. One would not normally not know that is occurring until the fungi produces a mushroom (the fruiting body of a fungi) which is evident at the PMC from time to time and very much appreciated.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Director of Nursery Operations