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Q&A with the Soil Moist Pros – Jumpstart Spring Growing

Answering your questions about water savings, grower success strategies and ways to keep plants healthy while you’re away.

Fresh Tree

In many ways, February is “spring training” in the garden center and professional landscape world, with growers in full gear preparing for Mother’s Day kickoff to the plant season and contractors considering upcoming projects, backlog already building. At home, winter holidays give us reason to spruce up the table and celebrate—or get out of dodge on a trip, which means finding a way to keep houseplants healthy during vacation.

This month, we’re answering seasonally relevant questions, providing fresh décor tips, and offering business-savvy advice for growers during a critical time of year that can determine spring success.

Q: What garden center strategies can help save valuable time and labor, along with reducing plant loss?
A: Time, labor, and plant health are the three most pressing variables garden centers manage year-round, and maximizing the weeks during late winter into pre-spring is critical for ensuring ample inventory for vendors and retailers. If you’re struggling to staff the garden center, you’re not alone. Keeping up with production requires time-intensive watering. Plus, there is a need to watch over newly planted seed trays and monitor the root development of cuttings.

You can significantly minimize the labor and related cost burden.

Soil Moist Fines for bare root seedlings, trees, plugs, minicells and small seed trays is a powder-grade non-toxic polymer that can reduce irrigation frequency by 50%, which is a significant savings in time and resources. For bare root dipping, mix the fines with 20 to 40 gallons of water, let stand until it forms a slurry that adheres to roots, and submerge roots before planting. One pound treats up to 12,200 seedlings. Thinking ahead to transport time, Soil Moist Hydro sugar-grade microns can serve as a packing medium and a form of insurance, maintaining plant vigor until inventory arrives in store.

E-Z Root to grow new plants from cuttings contains beneficial bacteria that improves soil conditions, and it works on rooted or unrooted cuttings. Because of its three-strain microbial, organic-based fertilizer, you can reduce the time and labor required to maintain plant health and reduce inventory loss.

Q: Our landscape company is preparing for a busy season, and we hold some plant stock in our greenhouse, so we have trees and shrubs available for mild days and early spring projects. How can we keep them healthy with reduced winter staff?
A: Holding some plant stock for unseasonably warm days you can leverage for planting is a wise move, but the challenge is maintaining plant health when staff might be called for services like snow removal—or if you run a lean crew in the off-season. Aside from maintaining a modest inventory of plants, some landscapers grow their own from cuttings or seed. The good news is, you can avoid assigning an employee to a “plant babysitter” role when you incorporate water-saving Soil Moist solutions into your plant care regimen.

Soil Moist maintains vigorous plants and minimizes transplant shock when the time comes to put plants into the ground. Plus, you’ll cut watering in half and the formula lasts for three to five years, which is basically a warranty to your clients. (We recommend marketing this to customers, so they realize the value they’re getting when their landscaper uses Soil Moist.)

Not sure how much Soil Moist to purchase or apply? Check out our handy calculator. Simply plug in the size of container, caliper, root ball or tree—or cubic feet or yards of soil.

Q: We’re hosting a Valentine’s Day party and looking for some creative centerpiece ideas to create with the kids. Any ideas?
A: We have lots of ideas for using Deco Beads in centerpiece and craft projects! Check out Deco Beads Instagram , and watch this video to learn how you can create a heart special event piece using Deco Beads. Deco Beads come in 12 standard colors with another 20 custom colors available. Watching the non-toxic water-storing beads and shapes (hearts!) swell when mixed with water is like magic.

Q: We don’t want to burden the neighbors by asking them to water our house plants while we are on vacation. What’s the alternative?
A: You’re not alone, and there’s a reason why Soil Moist Vacation Mats were voted best new product from Super Floral Show and Green Profit Magazine. The mats contain water-storying polymers woven into a cloth. We suggest placing the mat on a baking sheet or in a container, then add water to the mat. Place container plants on the mat to reduce watering by 50%. You can expect the mats to last up to three weeks.

Just Ask — JRM Inc. is a Go-To Gardening Resource
Tap into our library of resources for guidance, ideas, and news. We’re pleased to introduce our latest catalogue, and we look forward to a successful spring. Have other questions we didn’t answer? Contact us any time.

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