Willowbend Bareroot

One of the Largest and Longest Operating Bareroot Hydrangea Tree Producers in North America

Bareroot harvesting began on our Willowbend Farm over a century ago. Today, the same tried-and-trued production method remains in place, optimized and improved by our commitment to using advanced technology and innovations to produce and ship the highest quality bareroot stock.

When you order bareroot plants from Petitti Family of Farms rest assured that you will receive accurate and correctly graded whips of the same professional grower-level quality that we ourselves propagate into finished container plants at Ridge Manor or plant in our nursery fields to grow into mature B&B offerings at Losely.

What makes Willowbend bareroot special?

It starts at planting time with a high-quality liner, planted in the same productive, sandy-loam soils that were once considered among the most productive in North America.

Throughout the growing season, young trees and shrubs are trimmed at precise intervals – resulting in more substantial vegetative growth and a more consistent and high-quality product.

Once autumn arrives and its time to dig and store, the farm’s new SMZ Group bareroot digger and lift is 4x faster than the previous method (2 tractors and 40 workers in the field) and much more efficient. This has reduced the harvest timeline down to a single week, rather than four weeks. By digging and storing our bareroot faster and more efficiently, higher plant quality is maintained. Our harvesting machines and techniques also allow us to conserve our most precious resource – the soil we grow in.

Once the whips are inside our climate controlled grading barns, a custom designed harvesting system and grading computers leverage Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning via connected cameras and sensors to accurately grade and sort the whips, eliminating the potential for human error. This ensures that the whip grade or spec that your next job or plant production cycle requires is exactly what you get, every time.

Our custom-designed sorting machine then sorts and drops our high-quality whips onto conveyor belts to be sorted and bundled by grade. Many off-the-shelf sorting machines drop plants directly onto the floor, potentially damaging tender young plants right as they are going into dormancy.

Once plants are graded, bundled and stacked for storage, our climate-controlled barns do the rest of the work, keeping the freshly dug plants dormant until they are ready for shipping season. We use controllers to maintain varied temperature zones within our storage barns, as we’ve found certain flowering shrubs like spirea prefer to be stored at warmer temperatures than our hydrangea tree whips.

How do we help our customers save on shipping?

Our loading crews can fit on average 4,000-5,000 hydrangea tree whips on a single truck, or in the case of shrubs, 2,500 (depending on size/grade), and our location in Northeast Ohio is within one day’s shipping time (500 miles) of roughly 50% of the U.S. population. This helps our customers save on currently historic freight and transportation costs, which are not forecasted to decrease anytime soon.

The Petitti Difference

Need to combine bareroot, container, and B&B material in a single shipment? We’re confident that we are one of the only operations in North America that can deliver that type of logistical efficiency from a single, central location.

Like what you’re hearing?

Head on over to the Find My Rep page, get in touch with the sales rep for your territory and learn more about what makes Petitti Family of Farms a prominent bareroot pioneer.