Established in 1973, Matt Niesen Jr. and Ronan Nangle carry on their family owned nursery farm outside Cork, Ireland. The farm is home to over two hundred varieties of around fourty thousand trees that span across one hundred acres. With the up keeping on the constant change in the market, the farm is constantly transplanting and replanting new trees to follow trends. Years of experience brought to the one hundred acre farm by Neisen and Nangle have established a reputation that has been recognized by many landscape designers, such as Jeff Howes, a Managing director of Jeff Howes Golf Course Design. Touring the Nangle and Niesen Nursery gave a new perspective on the market sector in Ireland and knowledgable information on the production that can give a new perspective on the market in the United States.
Production – Planning, Planting, Midseason, Harvest
Planning begins with the prediction of the future market. Timing the market three to four years in advance is a must due to the fact that time is needed to grow the product. This is done by keeping up with golf course contractors and other private landscapers and contractors. After establishing knowledge of the future market, saplings of about a year old are purchased from other producers and transfered to the farm. A storage building was built to house the saplings that are brought in throughout the offseason to prep for the growing season. Before the planting stage, a proper planting bed is established with a flail mower. Planting the new product consists of creating a proper hole at the proper depth for the root ball with spacing suitable for the specific variety with midsize do machinery. As the trees across the farm enter Midseason, they are pruned to teach the tree where to grow. This is done by using guide poles and the tops of the trees are pruned to create a strong ‘leg’ for the tree. Natural fertilizer and compost are also applicated to the fields to enhance the production on the farm. Another Midseason activity is the relocation of trees. Trees constantly have to be relocated, because a contained rootball is essential for selling and performance. An increase in fibrous roots on the root ball gives the tree an increase in performance when relocated to the final destination. The farm relocates approximately five hundred trees each year. Grafting is not practiced on this farm. Some hardware is also placed on young saplings for protection. A leg or brace is placed around the tree for protection from rabbits with the taste for sap. Harvest season consists of a few different operations. The first is harvesting select trees for the consumer. A machine comes down the row and uproots the tree with the proper root ball circumference. Each tree is harvested with its location in mind by harvesting every other tree for equal distribution. After this process, the tree is carefully placed on a trailer and brought to the consumer for planting. The other activity is harvesting the trees that didn’t quite make it. Trees that did not sell throughout the harvest season either didn’t meet the proper specifications for the consumer and/ or they are cut down after they reach a certain age that the root baller can’t handle. After this process, the ground is resurfaced and planning begins once again.
This tour of this nursery was a great experience where knowledge and insight were gained as to what goes on within a tree stock nursery.