Charlotte nursery strives to reduce carbon footprint

first_imgHorsford Gardens & Nursery,This Green Up Day, ask: what is the carbon footprint of your yard? This may seem like an odd question, considering owers, trees, and shrubs absorb excess carbon from  our atmosphere and give oxygen. But it’s something that owners Charlie Proutt and Eileen Schilling  have been asking since they took over Horsford Gardens and Nursery in 1986. What they have learned  might surprise you. As it turns out, nursery practices can have far-reaching e ects on the community beyond simply supplying customers with plants. Horsford’s emphasis on eld-grown plants has been the lynchpin of their carbon-reducing strategies. Horsford trees and shrubs are grown at the nursery instead of trucked in from large-scale growers out-of-state. By growing nearly every plant they sell, the Charlotte nursery is better able to manage their fossil-fuel consumption, thereby reducing their carbon footprint.‘A healthy, full-grown tree absorbs 10-14 lbs of C02 per year,’ explains retail manager Seth Gillim. ‘At that rate, the tree needs a full year to absorb the carbon output from just ten miles of shipping. Our Kubota tractor is all we need to harvest the plants from our growing elds.’Reducing fossil fuel is good business as well good environmental stewardship. ‘As much as 30% of the cost of a plant from most garden centers is in energy-wasting freight,’ adds grower Ralph Fitz-Gerald. ‘Not only are our eld-grown trees, shrubs, and perennials better suited to Vermont’s extreme weather, but they cost less.’ Another component of Horsford’s mission to reduce waste is to avoid buying plastics. ‘Wasted plastics are the dirty little secret of the ‘green’ industry,’ says shrub grower Dave Berg. ‘Last year, our nursery grew over 10,000 plants in pots re-used from previous seasons and recycled from customers.  We credit customers ten cents for every black nursery pot that we can reuse. Recycling is great, but re-using is much better. All of the energy inputs that go into recycling itself are saved.’A wind-turbine, glass greenhouses, and recycling irrigation water are other green technologies Proutt and Schilling have brought to their business. In honor of these e orts, Horsford’s was awarded the most recent Greenworks Environmental Award. Says Proutt, ‘There’s no one thing we do that makes us green; it’s a combination of practices we’ve steadily implemented over the years. Each season we get a little better at what we do.’‘Charlie and I got into the nursery business because of our passion for the earth and its capacity to grow beautiful plants,’ agrees Schilling. ‘For 25 years we have worked hard to make our nursery and community healthier and environmentally vibrant.’To celebrate Green Up Day this year, Horsford’s is o ering 30-50% o on all eld-grown trees. ‘After a day of picking up litter on the roadside, why not stop by the nursery and choose that perfect crabapple or maple tree for your yard?’ asks Proutt. ‘It’s a great time of year for planting a Vermont-grown tree that could last for generations.’ The sale runs from April 15 through May 12.Horsford Gardens and Nursery is Vermont’s Oldest Nursery, in business since 1893.last_img

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