Because of a young man named Alfonso Ramos, who was willing to make a switch back in 1973, T-Y Nursery of Pauma Valley, California, was the winner.
Nearly five decades have passed since Alfonso Ramos got into the nursery business. In 1967, at the age of 18, he had an encounter that would change the course of his life forever. "I was raised in Baja California, about 16 miles south of the border between the US and Mexico," Ramos recalls.
"In the summer of 1967, I visited my sister and brother-in-law who had moved to California. She was working for a place called T-Y Nursery near Torrance, and her husband was a gardener. While I was visiting, I went to work with him each day. One afternoon, we picked up my sister from her job at the nursery, and that’s when I met Takashi. We started talking, and he offered me a job. Almost 50 years later, I’m still working for him."
Takashi Yasutake started T-Y Nursery with his wife Kasumi in 1966. When Ramos came to work for T-Y in 1968, the nursery spanned just 2ha and employed fewer than ten people. Since then, T-Y Nursery has grown to become one of the leading wholesale growers in Southern California, thanks in large part to the Yasutakes’ hands-on approach. They have focused on producing high-quality plants for reasonable prices and providing excellent customer service.
Today, while Takashi and Kasumi are still involved with the business, their son Terry has taken over the day-to-day operations. T-Y covers more than 850 acres and employs more than 400 people year-round at four different locations in California.
In the early 1970s, when Ramos had been with T-Y for only a few years, a determined salesperson from Sierra Chemical Company began approaching the nursery to sell a CRF called "Osmocote." Originally, Yasutake was not interested in making a switch, but Ramos continued to chat with the salesperson. After a few discussions, he eventually decided to set up a year-long trial of the fertiliser on junipers and a few other ornamental shrubs.
"We were so impressed by the results," says Ramos. "That made it really easy for me to talk Takashi
into buying it. He could see the difference that Osmocote made."
More than 40 years later, T-Y is still using Osmocote on shrubs and some shade trees, with a higher-rate blend on slower-growing plants and a lower-rate blend on faster-growing varieties. They blend Osmocote
with their growing media, which gives the plants enough fertiliser to grow to a proper size for retail sale and enough residual nutrition to continue flourishing — even after they have reached their final destination.
"We ship our plants to retail nurseries, where they’re eventually purchased by consumers," Ramos explains. "Even if a consumer doesn’t fertilise one of our plants for two-to-three months, the plant will continue to grow and bloom, thanks to the Osmocote in the growing media. That makes the consumer happy, which makes it more likely that he or she will return to the retail nursery where they purchased the plant — and that retail nursery will continue buying plants from us here at T-Y, year after year."
- This is content produced in partnership with ICL. Read the full story of 50 years of Osmocote here.