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Welcome to Chesapeake Nurseries

“The Broadleaf Specialists”

For over forty-five years, the Chesapeake name has been synonymous with top quality broadleaf evergreens. We now encompass over 1300 acres on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Approximately two thirds of this acreage is used for the production of high quality ornamental shrubs. We currently grow over 200 varieties of Azaleas, Barberry, Boxwood, Cotoneaster, Hydrangea, Ilex, Kalmia, Nandina, Ornamental Grasses, Pieris, Rhododendrons, and many more in various sizes suitable for garden centers, landscape contractors and re-distribution centers.

The sales office, propagation department and Pemberton farm, is located three miles west of Salisbury on Pemberton Drive. Loading and shipping facilities, the repair and fabrication shop and the Green Hill farm, are 11 miles west of Salisbury on MD Route 352.

The nursery was started in 1962 with the first propagation in one unheated, deep cold frame. Our “nursery’s nursery” now consists of more than 50,000 square feet of heated space including a ¾ acre Cravo retractable roof greenhouse, the first one of its kind on the east coast. Over 600,000 liners are produced each year. Most liners start as softwood cuttings planted in a mixture of peat and perlite and rooted under intermittent mist.

Chesapeake’s container operation started in the mid-80’s and is now producing over 800,000 plants per year in 3 to 20 gallon plastic pots. We are currently growing in 1200, 300’ hoop houses. We primarily use bark as our growing media and fertilize with mostly dry granular slow release fertilizers. Our raised bed field production area is currently producing about 200,000 plants per year. Much emphasis is placed on growing full, dense, healthy, top quality plants. Tremendous time, effort and resources go into soil building, production techniques, over-wintering, shipping and customer service. Plants are pruned many times during their production to develop well branched, properly shaped, full tops. Six key managers individually label plants by shipment with strict adherence to uniform grading. No plants are pulled in advance; each plant is selected just prior to loading.

In the harvesting and pulling operations, all plants are placed on 4’ x 6’ pallets to eliminate additional lifting and handling. Currently 25 semi trailers and two straight trucks are used to send out over 1000 loads per year to markets in the Northeast and Midwest. All of our delivery vehicles are decked to insure plants arrive to you in excellent condition. No plant material is double-stacked. We are currently loading as many as 15 loads per day with three crews using three moveable docks with conveyors.

For the last 5 years we have been on a mission to convert all of our ilex, euonymus and boxwood from field production to container production. This has been a monumental task. We have constructed over 700, 300’ x 18’ hoop houses, two large wet well systems with four 75 horsepower, 2000 gallon per minute, vertical turbine pumps each, increased our water holding capacity by 30% and moved countless yards of earth for grading and road building. The last phase is under construction now and will be completed this summer.

What does all this mean to you the customer? It means more consistency, the container plants are grown in a more controlled environment and the crop is more uniform from beginning to end and year to year. It means just in time shipping, we have cut over three days off the lead time required to prepare plants for shipment. Better winter protection means your early spring shipments are ready when you are. Container grown plants are much easier for you and your customers to handle and maintain in your yards.

The conversion to container growing has not allowed us to expand our product mix. Our next project will be to install a pot-in-pot system on at least one of our farms. We want to be able to add several new product lines to our mix to broaden your choices for quality plant material. If you haven’t been to the nursery in the last couple of years you can’t imagine how much we’ve accomplished. We welcome the opportunity to show you around.

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