~ September 9, 2023
We recently completed our field inventory for the upcoming Fall 2023 & Spring 2024 seasons. Every year in September, we do a comprehensive field inventory – measuring & counting every tree in the nursery. Last year, we decided to move that process up and start in early August and we were happy with that decision. Our fall sales season seems to creep in closer and closer each year, so we need the data before September to be best prepared for the fall dig season. Several species will continue to caliper up throughout the fall, so in December we will go back through and spot check certain varieties & blocks as needed and update our numbers again before spring.
For our third season now, we used the InstaCaliper technology from 2nd Sight Bio to help gather counts & measures on caliper and multi-stem trees. After collecting the data in the field, we enter new numbers into our GrowPoint inventory software. This season, our son Joey Thomas is heading up the inventory process. He is becoming a quick study on this part of our operation. In the field, he has a good eye for our quality standards and makes production notes for improvement along the way. Jamie is teaching him well! In the office, he is a spreadsheet master which comes in very handy during inventory season!
This year is our second year attempting to track our “shrink”. Recording shrink allows us to track trees that go on the burn pile for whatever reason. Last year, we added some new procedures to our inventory process to document these trees so we can adjust production plans accordingly. With rising input costs, it is critical to track every tree! We are looking forward to having a second year of data to analyze refining our shrink collection process. We are writing new SOPs as we go along. After one year of collecting shrink data, we estimated a shrink of 5.4% (give or take because it was the first year collecting.) The industry average for nurseries our size is 5.6%, so that tells us we aren’t too far off. We’d love feedback or ideas on how other tree growers track shrink. Joey developed our procedure and has been tracking the data. We aim to have all shrink recorded, cleaned up, and analyzed by end of September each season.
Inventory continues to be one of the toughest areas for us to manage – I think most growers would agree with that statement. At SGN Trees, the inventory process is important for several reasons. In the field, we make production notes and quality control decisions while are gathering inventory data. In the office, we use that data to make forecasting & production decisions. The trend we are seeing is that customers are placing orders multiple seasons ahead. Accurate and timely inventory data is an important tool so we can both grow and sell the best SGN Trees for our market. Having Joey learn and improve the inventory process at SGN Trees has been a great addition to our team!
Now that we have gotten all of our new counts back in the office, we are happy to report terrific growth out there! Our crop for Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 has filled in beautifully and is ready to grow in the landscape. Our younger trees that will still grow here for another few years have also put on a good amount of growth this season. As growers, it’s always nice to see the numbers behind the scene that verify what we see every day out in the field. You can preview our new availability on the website here: https://springgrovenursery.com/availability/
The ABOVE GROUND column shows trees still available from our Spring 2023 harvest. We have a nice selection of SGN trees ready to go for fall projects. The GROWING IN FIELD column show counts for trees to harvest either this fall or next spring. Now is a great time to order for fall digging or get your first pick on trees for next spring!
~ Becky Thomas, SGN Trees Grower
Check out this video of Joey gathering our data this season (Aug 2023):
Check out this video from Jamie (Fall 2021) about how it all works in the field: