This post is titled Nursery Operations Keeping Plants Dormant. It covers what a nursery needs to do if they ship bare root plants to extend their shipping season.
Today I’m taking about half the plants out of the propagation bed and putting them into pots to be moved into the refrigerator. This will keep them dormant and allow me to send plants into April when they otherwise would have broken dormancy and sprouted out.
I will leave about half the plants in the propagation bed for the remainder of March. Some will be used to ship out in the month March and the remainder will be transplanted into individual pots. These individual pots will be sold at trade shows and other events that we appear at over the next couple of months.
The main plants I have to worry about getting into the refrigerator are the Sweet Scarlet Goumi, Nanking Bush Cherry, Korean Bush Cherry, and Viking Aronia. These plants all break dormancy relatively early and do not ship well once the dormancy is broken.
I have other plants like elderberry that are extremely hardy and can be shipped at any point in time even after they break dormancy.
The process of refrigerating the plants involves digging them up and moving them to a pot. The pot must be labeled so I know what the plants are. I will put many plants in one pot very close together. Then I will water them very well and let them drain. Next, we put them in a tray to pick up any residual water, and then move them to the refrigerator.
We will pull them out every week to ten days and water them again. I need to make sure the roots stay moist and do not dry out. Then, I can pull individual plants out as I need to ship them and as long as they are dormant, it is not a big deal to disturb the roots.
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