Now more than ever, supporting the growth of seedlings is vital to sustaining the Christmas tree industry
Years of continuous droughts across the country have contributed to a shortage of trees for the last few Christmas seasons. Lack of rains during typically wet seasons leave seedlings with weak root systems, add the summer heat on top of that and we have one of the largest factors contributing to the shortage of Christmas trees everyone has encountered over the last few years. In 2018 alone there was upwards of 50% seedling loss nationwide.
Just like in your home garden, one of the best ways to promote root growth is through a phosphorous fertilizer. Usually this isn’t something we do with seedlings. Due to the drastic rate of die off of seedlings we and other farmers have had to change up how we do things. To aid us in the process this year we got our hands on some new to the industry Jacto automatic backpack sprayers. Usually, when fertilizing our fields, workers carry a four gallon hand pressurized pack, and have to estimate the amount of product being placed on each individual tree. This work tends to get done early in the year, and on our farm, it is all done by workers walking the fields rather than by more mechanized means.The upgrade to these battery powered sprayers allows our workers to focus on accuracy and efficacy when fertilizing. The new sprayers also have the ability to spray a measured dose of fertilizer every time. Helping take the guesswork out of this process and ensuring the optimal dosage for every seedling.
A number of other factors are needed for proper fertilization. One of the biggest being soils moisture content. Fertilizers must be liquid based to help with the needed deep penetration of the soil to reach the roots. It is important to do this work when the ground itself is damp as well. The damp ground helps ensure the liquid fertilizers reach down to the roots. Otherwise the fertilizer would just stay on top of the soil, not aiding in root development.
Below you’ll see a short video of our guys and their new backpacks in action. Take note that this video show just a small section of the greater number of seedlings we are caring for. Halfway through you can see our guys working side by side with the new sprayers and the hand pressurized ones. While this video is just one minute out of many days worth of work we wanted to take this opportunity to show you one of the many parts of the care and dedication we put into growing our beautiful Christmas trees.
Here we have a link for you to see these sprayers in action.
*This post mentions a product we enjoy using. We are not sponsored or paid by this brand*