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Home Nursery Goes Solar!

Posted by Ann Tosovsky
          HOME NURSERY, INC. GOES SOLAR.  NEW 556 KW SOLAR ARRAY SYSTEM INSTALLED AT
                                                          CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS
Home Nursery, a Midwest wholesale grower of landscape plants, proudly announces the installation of a total of 556 kilowatts (KW) solar photovoltaic electric systems, the largest aggregate system in the region, at its production farm in Albers, IL. In total there will be 10 systems installed over the next few months with a planned formal dedication in October 2016.  Seven systems will be roof mounted solar panels on various buildings and three systems will be ground mounts, primarily operating water pumping stations.  The solar arrays will range from the smallest system of 6.3 KW (similar to a typical residential installation) to the largest system at approximately 305 KW.
"Home Nursery is installing the new solar power system as one way to help reduce its carbon footprint and be a good corporate citizen," says Ann Tosovsky, President of Home Nursery, Inc.  "It is important to do what we can when we can to help the environment as well as future generations," she said.
The energy output of the system is expected to exceed 740,000 KWh annually and will prevent the production of over 570 tons of CO2 each year.  This is approximately equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 60 typical American homes.  Each solar panel throughout the system carries a 25-year performance warranty.  The estimated electricity cost savings of the project in just the first year is over $57,000.
The system is also expected to generate more than $450,000 in revenue from the in-state sale of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) to the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) over the next 5 years.  The IPA is purchasing SRECs from eligible solar energy system owners to quantify the environmental value of renewable energy produced in Illinois and to help bring the state into compliance with its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 25% renewable energy generation by the year 2025.
The Home Nursery Solar Project also applied for funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for America (REAP) Program.  The REAP program is a commercial incentive that provides eligible rural small businesses and agriculture producers with grants and guaranteed loans toward qualifying energy efficiency and renewable energy system upgrades.  REAP grants are competitively awarded twice per year and can cover up to 25% of the total of applicable energy systems.
"We're excited to see a major Midwestern business such as Home Nursery make the choice to go solar.  It seems to have been a natural fit for them," notes Shannon Fulton, President of the Illinois Solar Energy Association and Director of Business Development at StraightUp Solar.  "As environmental stewards, they are creating health benefits for their community; and as a long standing family-owned business, they are securing a cost-effective on-site renewable energy supply for years to come.  Home Nursery is on the leading edge and we applaud them for recognizing the benefits of solar energy for their business."
About Home Nursery
Home Nursery is a family-owned and operated, innovative leader in producing and distributing field and container grown nursery stock to garden centers, distribution centers and landscaping companies.  Founded in 1921, the company's 700 acre farm is located in Albers, Illinois, just 35 miles outside of St. Louis, MO.  This central location allows the nursery to deliver products anywhere in its 13-state territory within a week or less.  Home Nursery also maintains two full-service distribution centers-one in Albers, IL and the other in O'Fallon, Missouri-to meet local customers' needs.
About StraightUp Slolar
StraigtUp Solar, a turnkey solar energy integration company, designs and installs photovoltaic solar power system for homes, businesses, and nonprofits throughout much of Missouri and Illinois.  With offices in St. Louis, Swansea and Bloomington, Illinois, StraightUP Solar has been a solar industry leader since 2006.  StraightUp Solar has worked with more than 550 residents & businesses and non-profits, and is a full-licensed and insured electrical contractor.  A Better Business Bureau A+, B Corp Certified business, StraightUp Solar is committed to bettering our community and ensuring everyone's cleaner, safer, and more secure energy future--one solar panel at a time.  Learn more at straightupsolar.com
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Tags: Local

Home Nursery’s 95-Year Anniversary and What it Means for You

Posted by Ann Tosovsky

This year we are celebrating our 95-year anniversary!  Back in 1921, my grandfather, Ernest Tosovsky Sr., began selling vegetables in his hometown of Edwardsville, IL and through his vision, as well as the leadership of my father and  uncle, Chuck and Ernest Jr., we have grown from a one-man, home-town stand into one of the leading wholesale growers and suppliers in the Midwest.

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Potted Plant Perpetrator

Posted by Jacob VanOteghem

Best Practices For Growing Container Plants

Why is my plant dying!!!!????  Ever had this problem?  You venture out to your local garden center, not a big-box store (sorry, I had to), and you buy yourself a cute, little container plant.  You get a pot, buy fertilizer, and put it all together in the perfect spot in your home. Then it dies.  Yes, it dies.  After all the love, fertilizer, and water you showered this plant with, it just up and craps out on you.  It’s a tale too often told, but I swear, it can be prevented.  If you do your research and learn about your plant’s likes/dislikes and requirements, and you follow the basic guidelines I’m about to teach you; you can be spared of this heartache and frustration.

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Tags: Plants

Euomymus 'Blondy' vs 'Moonshadow'

Posted by Mark Luchtefeld

Euonymus fortunei: 'Blondy' vs. 'Moonshadow'

This post is not about a blonde and a rather odd 1970s song by Cat Stevens.  It is, rather, a highlighting of two particular varieties under the Euonymus fortunei umbrella.  Perhaps you already know how confusing the Euonymus umbrella can be.

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Tags: Plants

Green Velvet Boxwood VS. Winter Gem Boxwood (comparison)

Posted by Jeff VanBuren

Boxwood Green Velvet VS. Boxwood Winter Gem 

Green Velvet and Winter Gem Boxwoods are two of the most popular smaller sized evergreens sold in our area. They have many similarities such as: they are both boxwoods, stay small, evergreen, deer resistant, bloom in April, grow about any where,  have shallow root systems, hardy in zones 5 – 9, low maintenance, can take heavy pruning, and they both work great planted as hedges or just as single plantings. They have gained in popularity over the last decade because they are just so easy. They can be trimmed or left to grow naturally. They will grow in about any soil but prefer a moist, yet well drained soil. They will grow in sun or shade, but the ideal location would be either a morning sun and afternoon shade or a filtered sun. Both of these varieties are less prone to getting the "bronze" look in winter that many types of boxwood get. If they are in full sun and the temperatures are really cold even these two can get the bronze color. But, if planted in shade they will rarely aquire that coloring.

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Tags: Plants

Karl Foerster Grass Vs. Overdam Grass (comparison)

Posted by Jacob VanOteghem

Karl Foerster Vs. Overdam

Ornamental grasses are like the shy kid at the back of the bus.  They often time—like the shy guy—get ignored when homeowners are landscaping because they are too distracted by trees, shrubs, and annuals (to continue the analogy…jocks, hipsters, and the pretty girls).  But guess what? That shy kid is awesome and so are ornamental grasses.  And that’s where this terrible analogy ends.

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Tags: Plants

Crapemyrtle vs. Knock Out® Roses (comparison)

Posted by Paul Blanche

Two Great Flowering Shrubs- Crapemyrtle vs. Knock Out® Roses

Two of my favorite flowering shrubs are Knock Out® roses and crape myrtle [lagerstroemia]. It's hard to beat the all season blooms and variety of colors both shrubs provide.

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Tags: Plants, Branded Plants

Which is better Ilex 'Red Sprite' or Ilex Berry Poppins™ (comparison)

Posted by Paul VanOteghem

Ilex ‘Red Sprite vs. Ilex ‘Berry Poppins’

Ilex verticillata, a.k.a. Winterberry is an excellent plant species and in my opinion, way underused.   It is a great choice for the Midwest with a hardiness rating of zones 3-9.  As it is a deciduous Holly, it offers exceptional seasonal interest in the fall and winter after it drops its
leaves, with its persistent bright colored fruit that ripens in late August – September.  The fruit hangs on into mid-winter or even later depending on temperatures and bird populations.  There have been selections made which offer fruit colors ranging from yellow to orange to the typical red.  Winterberry fruit is very beautiful against a backdrop of snow.   The fruit-laden branches are also very desirable for winter cut arrangements. Winterberry lends itself well to mass
planting; is easy to grow; tolerant of full sun or partial shade (better fruit set in full sun); adaptable to a wide variety of soils ranging from light to heavy soils and will thrive in wet areas as well.   The plant can become chlorotic in high pH soils.

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Tags: Plants, Branded Plants

Best Ornamental Grasses For Creating A Screen

Posted by Jeff VanBuren

What Are The Best Ornamental Grasses For Creating A Screen

Ornamental grasses can be used for a variety of reasons, but one reason people may overlook is using them as a living screen. Many people think of using evergreens as living screens, which they do work well for, but several grasses can be a great alternative and take up less room too. Let’s say you live in a neighborhood where the houses are fairly close together. You have a patio off the back of your house that you love to use for entertaining. One of your neighbors seems to always be out on his patio every time you want to be out on yours. You have a flowerbed along the patio between the two of you, but it is only four feet wide. You think to yourself “what can I plant in that narrow of a space to screen out my neighbor?” You run through a list of Holly, Arborvitae, Yews, Junipers, and Boxwoods, but they either get too big, grow too slow, or are too prickly.Then it hits you “ I’ll use grasses!” They won’t be there in the winter, but you probably won’t be out on your patio very much in the winter either.

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Tags: Plants

Fall Landscaping Tips

Posted by Mark Luchtefeld

Fall Landscaping Tips   

Because Spring is a busy time for those of us who work in the nursery industry, I have to wait until Fall to "play" in my yard. Well, Fall is here, and the fun has begun! 

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Tags: Plants