The Summer Nursery Tours Have Begun

One of my objectives for this summer is to tour nurseries in California. Today I ventured south to see two operations. The first one was ValleyCrest in Fillmore. ValleyCrest grows trees, large trees. They have several locations in California.

One of the things about California plant production that is still a novelty to me is tree production in boxes. You will not find balled and burlapped trees here. Trees are sold in containers or boxes. And the boxes might be very large (more on that later).

Trees in boxes.

Trees in boxes.

A newcomer navigating the ValleyCrest facility will require a map. I still managed to get lost a few times. The place is huge. Neighboring mountain ridges help a little with direction.

A small piece of the nursery.

A small piece of the nursery.

A nursery panorama.

A nursery panorama.

I saw plants in all stages of production. The propagation facility had tiny seedlings and small containers. The main growing grounds were filled with large containers and boxes. The picture below shows some plants that were situated near the main office.

Some trees awaiting sale.

Some trees awaiting sale.

You might be struggling to determine the scale. Just how big are those plants? Well, I decided to pose in the next shot to make the scale more obvious.

Yup, that's a big tree.

Yup, that’s a big tree.

Trees of this size are not impulse buys. You don’t toss one in the car and plant it on a Saturday morning.

I enjoyed seeing the ValleyCrest operation and hearing how they do things.

My next stop was San Marcos Growers in Santa Barbara. San Marcos Growers focuses on herbaceous perennial plants, shrubs, and some trees. Most of their plants they sell in containers, though some are in boxes.

Herbaceous perennial plants in production.

Herbaceous perennial plants in production.

Some plants were both in and on pots. Can you guess why?

Plants in and on pots.

Plants in and on pots.

These were the plants most susceptible to rabbit-inflicted damage. Only the Manute Bol of rabbits is going to eat these ferns.

I enjoyed seeing these two nurseries, and I’m grateful to my gracious hosts for their time. I learned a lot about nursery production in California today, and I’m excited about all that is still to come this summer. Maybe by the fall a tree in a box will look normal to me.

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