We headed over to Kraemer’s propagation facility, where cuttings are processed.
All told, Kraemer’s operates three Cravo houses and 67 hoop houses, where they produce 10 million liners per year. “80% is propped here,” said Gregory.
Next, we drove to the nursery facility, where rows of next year’s rhodies have been staged in pots.
Cesar Velazquez, grower coach at Monrovia, remarked that he’d like to know how they are able to keep their rhodies sitting out in the sun. “They must be using some kind of spray,” he wondered. “It would save so much labor, not having to move the plants in and out of the shade, from undercover into the sun.”
Gregory said they grow 500 varieties of plants on 180 acres, including an R&D area where production trials (for Ball Ornamentals and Plant Haven), as well as fertilizers and new herbicides take place.
Gregory showed off the operation’s “30 wides,” houses which were named for their width in feet. Each structure is 600 feet long, and there are 99 houses total, offering winter, rain and snow protection for a wide range of plant material. “We want to keep product dormant. We use a fair amount of herbicides. Anything with yellow foliage doesn’t agree with herbicides. It’s impossible to do a place this size without chemicals,” Gregory said.