ArcheWild Sustainable Nursery Practices
Many customers already know that ArcheWild employs the most sustainable nursery practices of any native plant producer on the East Coast. But for those that are new to the ArcheWild growing program, here are some of the highlights of what we do that makes us so unique:
Open Pollinated Species
Over 99% of our plant material is grown from open-pollinated local-ecotype (OPLE) seed that we collect or grow ourselves. Other native nurseries rely on cloning techniques of unknown genotypes that exhibit unnaturally vigorous growing or easy-to-root characteristics. ArcheWild supplies only real plants with real genetic variability that will perform as nature intended in real landscape settings. ArcheWild is a processor of wild and cultivated Piedmont native seed and is the largest grower of genotyped seed from EcoRegions 064a, 064b, and 064c. We operate an 8-acre seed farm in Hatfield PA for local genotype seeds from species that we use in restoration projects, such as Sorghastrum nutans, Andropogon gerardii, Scrophularia marilandica, Cacalia atriplicifolia, Monarda fistulosa and many more.
100% Genotyped Seed
All ArcheWild plant species are 100% genotyped and curated in our own in-house accession database. With over 15,000 entries, ArcheWild catalogues the GPS coordinates of each of its source locations for each species for complete traceability back to the mother plants. Our records are auditable for government-sponsored projects where genetic compatibility with indigenous native species populations is important.
EPA EcoRegion Level IV Coding
All products carry the EPA EcoRegion Level IV code associated with the GPS coordinates of the original accession. This coding allows restoration experts and landscape architects make the most informed decisions about the genetic anre horticultural suitability of our plants for their project. For some species, we carry up to twenty different ecotypes, such as Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), so that the best genetics can be supplied. There is no longer a need to wonder about where your native plants are coming from.
Green Media – No Peat
ArcheWild uses only post–industrial waste products in its media formulations. ArcheWild uses no product that was mined, harvested, or processed for the nursery industry. ArcheWild stopped using peat in any of its production operations in 2012.
SITES 5.9 Compliance
ArcheWild is fully compliant with the rules for Sustainable Nursery Production as described in section 5.9 of the Sustainable Sites Initiated (SITES).
Insecticide and Fungicide Free
ArcheWild employs growing practices that simply do not require the use of insecticides and fungicides. All of our plant materials are grown ‘cage-free’ or ‘free-range’ style with open access to all pollinators and naturally-occurring microorganisms. The result is that our plants are already in balance with nature and require no chemical treatments. Occasionally, we will use insecticidal soap on Euonymus atropurpurea and on Asclepias incarnata as aphids can destroy these crops if left unchecked. Otherwise, our nursery is completely insecticide and fungicide free. The PA Department of Agriculture requires treatment of plants being shipped to some states, mostly midwestern and western states. A PA Department of Agriculture inspector is on hand prior to every required treatment to validate proper/safe application and that the minimum amount of treatment has been applied.
ArcheWild has invested nearly 5 years and over $100,000 to develop an experimental design methodology that has allowed it to discover optimal media formulations for plug and container production. We employ nine different core media formulations that our propagators can tweak based on the unique requirements of a species. A key outcome to optimizing media formulations is that our plugs, in particular, remain healthy and viable for up to four years from the time of seeding. This directly leads to dramatically higher yields and to much lower waste. Many nurseries will discard their unsold crops at the end of the year because they cannot successfully overwinter them.