We are passionate about community service, education, and supporting our industry to help grow the next generation of horticulture professionals. Our Core Values compel us to always try to do the right thing. Our efforts on behalf of the environment are part of our process of continual improvement. We believe in challenging the status quo. We listen, then use our experience and technology to innovate procedures to help sustain our environment.
Here are a few of the best practices we employ in our efforts to make a difference:
Systems Approach to Nursery Certification or SANC reduces pest risk associated with nursery stock by identifying and dealing with pest hazards at all stages of the plant production system. Willoway’s SANC-certified facilities use best production practices that reduce the risk of spreading plant pests throughout the trade.
MPS (More Profitable Sustainability) is an industry initiative that grants sustainability certificates for international floral and ornamentals growers and breeders. This prestigious certification is recognized worldwide as a standard for sustainability practices. Monitoring tools encourage us to chart farm usages in water, fertilizer, crop agents, electricity, land, and fuel and identify ways to lower consumption. MPS certification increases social accountability as growers compare results to reduce impact on natural resources.
Electrochemically activated water or ECA - A better treatment of recycled water. Older methods such as ultraviolet disinfection, heat treatment, chlorination, copper-silver ionization and slow sand filtration are being replaced by electrochemically activated water (ECA). This is an environmentally friendly process that reduces the use of chemical products for water purification. Cleaner water reduces disease and the need for chemical treatments. We also use irrigation monitoring to apply the correct amount of water to reduce waste.
We are always looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle in the nursery. Plastic used to cover our growing houses through the winter is pulled and sent for recycling. Office products are sourced sustainably, and all of our lunchrooms and administrative offices have recycling containers. Paper use is reduced further with our digital customer portal for online availability and invoicing. We are also moving to digital versions of phytosanitary certificates to save on paper.
Integrated Pest Management or IPM is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties. Pesticides are used only after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines, and treatments are made with the goal of removing only the target organism. Pest control materials are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human health, beneficial and nontarget organisms, and the environment.
Phenology is the study of recurring biological phenomena and their relationship to weather. Tracking this information is part of our IPM practices. Using growing degree-days (GGDs), while not perfect, is a more reliable method of predicting crop and insect development than calendar days. This measurement of the growth and development of plants and insects during the growing season gives us the ability to react proactively and limit the use of chemical needs.
Something as simple as the application of rice hulls in our containers effectively suppresses weed seed germination in container nursery production. Rice hulls are an excellent renewable resource that we use to reduce weeds and minimize the need for herbicides.
Smart Sprayers are offering a new technology that detects unique crop architecture and makes management decisions based on height, width, spacing, and density of each plant or tree.
These are part of Willoway Nurseries’ everyday approach to continual improvement and part of our core values to do the right thing. Schedule a tour of the nursery and let us show you our tools for sustainability.