May 4, 2024 Bareroot, Grower

In the Field with Endless Summer®

A few miles outside of Portland, Oregon, you’ll find a tidal island in the Columbia River called Sauvie Island. This island is home to several production farms for Bailey that produce bareroot shrubs and trees, includingEndless Summer® Hydrangeas. The soil and climate on the island are ideal for growing the fibrous root systems and picturesque blooms that make this classic shrub a favorite for gardeners. When it comes to bareroot liners, Bailey offers three different grades for Hydrangea macrophylla:

Grading Bareroot Endless Summer® Bloomstruck® Bigleaf Hydrangea
  • #1– Has 5-6 canes and a larger root system. This grade is ideal for a fast turnaround in #3 or #5 pots. Growers also use them for #7 containers.
  • Medium– Minimum of 4 canes, with a smaller root system.
  • #2– Minimum of 2 canes with additional stems and smaller root system.

Here’s a glimpse of how these liners are produced to provide you with consistent quality.

Year One

Each spring a team of roughly 20 people plant 20 acres of Endless Summer® at a rate of over 15,000 plugs per acre. These plugs are sourced from our in-house propagation site in Yamhill, Oregon. Once the plugs arrive on Sauvie Island, they’re planted in May and will spend two growing seasons in the field before getting shipped to customers across North America.

Members of the planting team on Sauvie Island
Members of the planting team on Sauvie Island

To prevent frost damage, the plugs are planted after the frost danger has passed and the soil has warmed. Overhead irrigation is used to water in the roots and saturate the surrounding soil, then a combination of overhead and drip irrigation is utilized to fertigate and apply water the rest of the season.

Planting Pop Star® on Sauvie Island
Planting Pop Star® on Sauvie Island

Year Two

Hydrangea macropylla tends to produce blooms on thicker stems, so we don’t prune them until the second year of production. During the spring cutback in March, the plants are taken down to six inches, and the flush of new growth is used as a cutting source for a new crop of Endless Summer®. 

In the second year, drip irrigation is exclusively used to keep the foliage dry and reduce disease pressure. In the last few years, Bailey has switched to drip irrigation for over 80% of shrub and tree production in Oregon, which has led to better uniformity for the crops and more efficient water use. The drip irrigation keeps the foliage dry as well, leading to fewer disease problems in the field and for customers.

As harvest approaches in fall, the plants are mowed to 14 inches to remove excess debris and make the harvest and storage process easier. Typically, the plants are dug in the second half of October, depending on weather. After digging, they’re transported to the coolers on Sauvie Island to be graded.

Once grading is complete, most of the Endless Summer® plants are sent to Minnesota to be stored in the bareroot coolers until spring shipping begins. Storing these liners in Minnesota helps to reduce the shipping distance for many of our customers. If you have any questions about using these liners in your container production, please contact your Sales Representative.

Please note that Bailey is a wholesale supplier for the horticulture industry. If you’re a home gardener, please head to the Find A Retailer page to locate Endless Summer® Hydrangeas near you.