How A BC Tree Nursery Grows Healthy Trees
January 13, 2020
There are a few things here at Purple Springs Nursery that define who we are. One of these things is our trees (only makes sense considering we grow them for a living!). We focus on three aspects of a tree to make sure it’s healthy: soil, roots, and pruning.
We ship about 350-550lbs of soil with every single tree we send off the nursery. That’s a large amount of soil and a big motivator for us to focus on our soil health. Here are a few ways we do that:
- To keep our soil healthy, we look at it from a Regenerative Agriculture perspective – a methodology that focuses on holistic farming principles and practices. This perspective is something that everyone – from hobby farmers to big scale growers – can incorporate into their growing practices.
- We nutrient-test our trees to find out what’s lacking and add custom foliar support and carbon rich compost to replenish the soil so our trees are always getting the food they need. The way we do this is through plant sap analysis – Plant Sap Analysis measures leaf juices and gives an immediate, real-time snapshot of nutrient flow between the young and old leaves of our tree species. Plant sap detects indicators of a deficiency before the deficiency itself shows up.
- We add microbiology to our soil to activate and rejuvenate the soil biome. These soil organisms function as a tree’s support system by creating a symbiotic relationship with the tree’s roots. They do this by sharing essential nutrients supporting plant health and triggering plant immune response against pests and diseases (Yes trees have immune responses!). A healthy soil biome is a very important component to the development of a healthy functioning tree. Simply adding nutrients into the soil isn’t enough. Adding tiny biological life forms assists the trees growth, vitality, and health, while priming the tree for a life in the tough urban landscape. Read more about soil microbes here!
A tree’s root system directly correlates to its quick and healthy establishment. Many issues that crop up within a root system can be avoided by working closely with carefully selected suppliers who care about root development from early on. Some of the perks resulting from this care include:
- Our root pruning process which results in a fibrous root system that significantly improves the trees ability to uptake water and nutrients, and aids in quick establishment.
- Trees with large tap roots often end up going into shock when dug because you leave so much of the taproot behind. All our fibrous roots fit into our baskets. You get ALL the benefits because very few roots are left behind.
- Our trees establish over twice as fast as the industry standard today, which leads to a lot of cost savings and benefits for the customer . Within months, our fibrous roots take to their new surroundings and new growth is visible.
To read more about roots, check out this article Dispelling Misperceptions About Trees.
Our pruning practice is all about directing branch growth energy. By maintaining certain practices we are able to ensure the following:
- Consistency and uniformity in every crop
- Crowns that require little or no maintenance three years after planting. A tree is surprisingly trainable in terms of where it sends its energy. We train trees to grow with a strong central leader that contributes to a V-like crown from the start. So by the time they’re in your hands, their growth pattern is ingrained and the foundation for a successful long term tree life in the urban landscape is set.
- High nursery standards that mean an automatic pass for your job.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an individual with a green thumb, a landscaper or a big-scale nursery: growing with soil, roots and pruning in mind is a great way to ensure the health of your trees. Thinking about these aspects of a tree has really helped us to define our growing practices.