At this time of year, we are always asked what we do with all of the plant material that we have on site. Since we are a production nursery, we grow a large percentage of our plants from seedlings or liners up to larger trees and shrubs. This means that some of our shrubs we can turn them around quickly – sometimes the same season. Other shrubs and most of the tree varieties are a longer crop – up to several years.
The first step in the over-wintering process is to group the plants together, then tip them over pot to pot, often stacking them a couple of layers high. We then place rodent bait in the group of plants to prevent from rodent damage over the winter. Once they are ready, we then place closed cell foam from the sides, all the way over the top and reaching to both ends.
Once the foam has been placed over the plants, a sheet of 6 mil white plastic is put over the entire block of plants. This is held down by a small layer of sand around the edges – being careful to have a complete seal and then sandbags are added both as an additional weight and to add tension to prevent wind from billowing at the plastic causing it to tear during the winter.
This is a arduous process and labor intensive. Our crew is tired by the end. We thank them for their efforts. These steps are what protects the plants for the long Minnesota winter and when they wake up in the spring – they’re ready to go for the season!
Members of our crew are Luis Olave, Ben Danielson, Matt Wheeler, Cory Duke, Mark Tarabek, Scott Marnie, Heidi Brosseau, Bernie Emery, Anna Sheehan, Paul Dau, Delton Kolb, Mary Emery, Jim Westlund and Todd Marnie.