By Maddie Cotter, Intervale Conservation Nursery Production & Volunteer Coordinator
Fall is an exciting time at the Intervale Conservation Nursery. The onset of fall means warm sweaters, pumpkin pie, and hot cider, but it also means it’s time to harvest trees! With our planting crew and numerous volunteers, we spent eight days last month harvesting several tree species from our production field. We harvested 7,500 trees including black willow, shrub willow, speckled alder, American elm, gray birch, red osier dogwood, silky dogwood, red maple, sugar maple, silver maple, sumac, green ash, cottonwood, quaking aspen, red oak, white oak, white pine, basswood, arrowwood, highbush cranberry, and nannyberry. These trees then traveled to sites throughout Vermont where they were planted to help stabilize river banks and improve the natural community. Our planting crew transplanted 3,750 stems across 15 acres and the rest were sold to conservation districts and others in Vermont committed to improving buffers along rivers and farm fields.
Fall harvest consists of several production processes, the first of which involves harvesting trees from our production field. From there, trees are transported to our processing area which, for the first time, was at our newly skinned greenhouse! At the processing area, we prune the roots of the trees so they can be easily planted in a hole that is approximately one foot deep and one foot wide. After root pruning, we measure and sort each tree species based on their height (this step is also known as grading). Finally, each species is bagged to order and the trees are ready to be delivered.
Fall is a busy time and harvest is a tremendous effort, so we would like to thank all of the folks who came out to help us, including Global Foundries employees who helped us process our shrub willow and red osier dogwood stock and ECO AmeriCorps for sending two members to help process our trees as well. Many hands make light work! Now we focus on seed collecting and planning for next year when we’ll propagate, plant, harvest and transplant tens of thousands more trees and shrubs. Stay tuned for more Nursery updates!