Nursery Crop

Flagging now marks the dozens of plants to be transplanted out onto the landscape at Leafhopper Farm. From oaks to roses, the trees and under-story plants are at a stage of growth to transplant. Some will head to the back field for companion planting with our chestnuts, others will fine their way to establish groves in our Forest Stewardship plan.

The young trees salvaged off logging road edges, where they would be cut back or sprayed, are re-rooted at the farm for planting out in reforestation efforts. These trees are primarily western hemlock, red cedar, and a few Douglas firs. If you were to buy these root stalk in a plant sale or from a nursery, you’d be spending hundreds. Many of our native plants came from conservation district plant sales, a good way to support local organizations while buying your planting stock, rather than from just any nursery.

We’ve take the time to flag all our young stock, to help keep track of all the little buds and twigs of these plants. The flags will stay on after the transplant occurs so we can continue to monitor the health and growth of the plants on the landscape. Keeping track of plants once they are reintroduced into a recovering forest means the plants will sometimes be overgrown with other species. To prevent this, and accidental cutting when you are clearing out blackberry, use brightly colored flagging tap like the ones shown in these photos.

In our tree nursery, many species planted as root stalk from plant sales a few years ago are finally taking root. They’ve grown enough bulk to be transplanted into the hedges and forests of the farm. The apple root stalk will wait another year, to make sure our grafts take hold. The Douglas fir pictured above is almost too big, so we have to move it this season to ensure the root ball is not too big for transplanting.

Some of our nursery stock is ground covers, like salal and Oregon grape. These are common ground cover plants throughout The Pacific Northwest. Pictured above is a log habitat of natives I put together from a foraging mission to save roadside plants. There’s even a young hemlock tree, along with red huckleberry too. Right now, these plants are in the front garden, enjoying a drainpipe outflow with lots of good moisture, and south facing light on our grey days. This entire grouping will have to transplant before summer heat arrives, as these delicate under-story plants prefer the defused light of a forest above.

The introduction of new growth on the landscape at Leafhopper Farm heralds a shift towards replanting, a state of recovery only possible with good conditioning of soil, and the removal of invasives which would otherwise overshadow any new young plants. With the help of some tenacious goats, swell sheep, and cackling hens, we’ve built up healthy soil and good fertility to feed this new under-story vegetation to enhance the forest and field of the farm. With a little positive stewardship, the temperate rain-forest of our region will get a little greener in her productivity.

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