Last week King Conservation District staff and crews traveled to Bow, Washington and toured the Washington Association of Conservation Districts’ Plant Materials Center, where KCD sources most of the bareroot plants for the yearly Native Bareroot Plant Sale. Online pre-orders close on March 4, 2020. For best availability, order now. Plants will be picked up on March 14, 2020 at the Tukwila Community Center. KCD will also offer walk-up sales as well as offering the popular Community Fair that was absent last year.
At the PMC, staff learned about the 60 acres of land that has fertile, well-drained Pilchuck sandy loam soil. PMC produces about 1.5 million native trees and shrubs from seed each year. Seeds are collected from all over Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, and are grown in beds with a rotational fallow system. Over 70 native species grow at PMC each year for restoration and landscaping projects across the state.
Upon receiving your plant order from the Bareroot Plant Sale, you will notice that the plants have a surprisingly robust root system. This is largely due to the root pruning process wherein a blade runs deeply enough in the soil to slice off the tips of the roots, encouraging outward as opposed to downward root growth. KCD staff got to witness the harvesting and preparation processes during the tour. PMC uses a lifter that shakes soil from the roots with little stress to the plants. The plants were carted to the processing facility, where the roots are trimmed to 10 inches, and then bundled to store in the refrigerated warehouse. The plants will keep cool and moist there for a week before they are shipped out to be permanently installed elsewhere, such as your yard!
KCD is thankful to the Washington Association of Conservation Districts’ Plant Materials Center for consistently producing healthy, happy plants that help to restore and enhance natural habitats. KCD is also thankful to you for choosing to steward your land by purchasing and installing PMC-grown native plants from the KCD Native Bareroot Plant Sale.
Liz Fredrickson, Shorelines and Volunteer Projects Coordinator, AmeriCorps IP