Nursery snow and ice damage minor
By Eric Mortenson
Oregon nursery plant growers who responded to a survey sustained an estimated $370,000 in damage during the snow and ice storm that pelted the Pacific Northwest in February, an industry group says.
About half those responding reported shipping delays due to weather, and 35 percent reported damage to nursery stock, according to the Oregon Association of Nurseries. Other operators reported hoop house, greenhouse or other structural damage.
The damage figure is minor compared to the winter of 2008-09, when unusually heavy snow in western Oregon caused an estimated $18 million to $25 million in damage to buildings and plants. That storm lasted longer, 11 days, and was marked by heavier, wetter snow.
This time, nursery operators “dodged a bullet,” the Oregon Association of Nurseries said in a news release.
“We were knocking snow and ice off the greenhouses for a couple days,” said Larry Bailey, co-owner of Verna Jean Nursery outside of Gresham, Ore. Bailey said he had to clear snow and ice two or three times a day.
The nursery specializes in growing Japanese maples and dogwood trees. Some trees were bent in odd directions by the weight of snow and ice, but should regain form during the growing season, Bailey said. Luckily, the nursery wasn’t hit by strong winds during the storm, which might have increased the damage, he said.