Young plant grower EuroAmerican Propagators has found that in shipping plants to its grower customers, necessity is the mother of invention. Two solutions to grower problems are proving successful and may be available to other growers in the future. EuroAmerican highlighted these at its Spring Trials display at the Ventura Botanical Gardens.
With a box-making machine at its location, EuroAmerican created a 160-tray shipping tower out of corrugated cardboard that not only increases the number of trays shipped from 144 trays in other towers, but also allows growers to reduce the amount of waste created while transplanting plugs and liners.
Instead of the mess of boxes opened and tossed about, the new tower consolidates waste by enclosing each plug tray in a box with a window that shows the sticker label, EuroAmerican’s Scott Fulton says. Growers can view which tray is in each box, and open and transplant as needed, leaving the tower intact. Once all the trays are removed and transplanted, growers can simply remove the pallet tower and recycle.
This past year of extreme weather left EuroAmerican needing new options for insulating young plants from heat and cold. Fulton says the operation looked at a material used by the chocolate industry to insulate products. The material, ThermoShield, reduces the need for refrigerated trucking by holding plugs at a 30-degree difference for up to 72 hours.
For instance, Fulton says, if the operation ships to a certain region’s distribution center via refrigerated transport, the ThermoShield option will keep plugs cool so they can be shipped with non-refrigerated trucks within the region beyond that point.
The material also worked the other way, insulating plugs and liners from extreme cold temperatures during this past winter’s deep freeze in many areas of the country, Fulton says.
This past season, EuroAmerican Propagators included ThermoShield in all shipments free of charge just to get products safely to customers. The product has a cost, so future shipments with this material will be available at a slight upcharge.
Other propagators interested in the ThermoShield material can buy it from EuroAmerican Propagators, which is selling on behalf of the manufacturer, Fulton says. Growers interested in the box tower can also contact EuroAmerican for more information.