For the next two weeks I’ll be touring tree and shrub growing nurseries throughout the Southeast, an annual pilgrimage for thirty years. I’ll be driving, almost three thousand miles over twelve days, and a different town each night, except for two nights in Mobile, Alabama over the weekend.
My traveling partner and I will be visiting some of the largest nurseries in the country, several over a thousand acres. We’ll see nurseries that grow only trees and large evergreens, and others that grow smaller plants in containers. Our mission is to evaluate plants for Fall delivery and to project growth to judge their value for Spring.
Unfortunately, this trip leaves little time for relaxation. We spend twelve hours or more each day in our vehicle, either on the highway or driving through nurseries, and once we get started our goal is to get the job done and get home as quickly as possible. Not that we don’t enjoy the nurseries, and friends that we’ve known for many years, but the highway miles are not fun.
Most container growers capture their runoff and rain in ponds, then filter and recycle the water. The aerial photo above shows a nursery in Georgia with seven large holding ponds. Even with prolonged droughts the past several years their water supply remained adequate. Water is pumped from the ponds to irrigate plants, then returns to the holding ponds by swales and canals.
Tree growing nurseries usually irrigate by drip irrigation, or sometimes just by relying on nature to provide enough rain. During prolonged droughts they might use large water cannons to cover huge areas.
I’ll be traveling with my camera, and if anything of note happens I’ll be certain to document it.