Most of the well-rooted starter trees are ready to ship, and the weather is starting to warm up enough to safely ship them, so much of our time over the next 6-8 weeks is going to be spent packaging and shipping tree orders. There are thousands of trees to ship, and it takes quite a bit of time to package and ship them, so it's not something that can be completed in a day or a week (and probably not even in a month--that's why I'm estimating 6-8 weeks).
This has been a long, complex, and difficult propagation project. Last year I was able to create most of the 'non-rare' varieties needed for the orders, and this winter I've been able to produce most of the 'rare' varieties needed for the orders. I was able to keep the trees from last year alive and in good condition: they're the 2ft tall trees that are just coming out of dormancy in the pics below. The new trees from this winter are the shorter ones in the later pics below. The two groups are located in different greenhouses.
The trees from last year are currently perfect for bare-rooting (which is required for shipping to several western states like CA, AZ, etc), as you can see in the 2 pics of trees that have been bare-rooted. The trees from this winter are not yet established enough to wash off their roots, so the shipping plan is this: ship first to locations that don't require bare-rooting, and also to western states that only ordered trees that are ready to be bare-rooted; when we're finished shipping those orders, hopefully the newer trees will then be ready to be bare-rooted, and we can then ship those final orders to the western states.
I will email each of you individually before shipping your orders and won't ship your order until we have discussed shipping details (confirming your shipping address, agreeing on when to ship, choosing substitutes if necessary, etc).
Here are the trees that were started last year:
And here are some of the trees that were started this winter:
There have been some setbacks this winter. For example, when the temperature dropped below -10F at one point early this winter, the cold overwhelmed my heaters and frosted the plants. The worst part was that the tunnel at that time was primarily filled with Black Madeira, I-258, Galicia Negra, Ponte Tresa, Genovese Nero (Rafed's), and other ultra-elite varieties that I had wanted to give a head start. The frost froze their green growth almost all the way to their trunks. They are now starting to recover and push out new green growth, as you can see in the pics, but many were temporarily stunted and a few were killed. Due to concern over the possibility of such an occurrence, I had saved back around 2/3 of my ultra-elite cuttings to start at a later time, and I am glad I did. Those backup cuttings are now busy rooting, giving me a 2nd wave of those varieties on the way (they're just barely starting to push out their first roots now). Here are some pics of what the frosted trees look like now:
Another setback happened about a week ago, when a rat decided to make a meal out of 2 trays of Ponte Tresa trees. Almost all of the trees had most of their green growth eaten off. Some were killed in the process, but a few were spared and many of the mauled trees are already starting to push out fresh green growth, as you can see in the pics. The rat has since been eliminated. Here's what the survivors look like right now: