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Riparian Scene

Sustainability

Native Plants

Starting in 1977, Blake Nursery was one of the first retail nurseries in Montana to promote native plants--that emphasis continues today. Often these plants take less water and are more adaptable to site conditions specific to our area, such as high alkalinity, and therefore require fewer inputs. In addition, planting what is native helps keep Montana looking like Montana! What more could you ask for?

Serviceberry native blooms.jpg
Bagged Cottonwood, Early April 2010.JPG

Locally Sourced Plants 

Many of our plants are grown at the nursery in-ground for several years before they are harvested and sold. (See fabric bags for up-to-date availability.) Others, particularly native plants, are grown from cuttings we do at the nursery. We also purchase many plants from Montana wholesale nurseries. Combined, these practices reduce the fossil fuels required to ship the plants we sell.

Plastic Pot Recycling Program

As part of our commitment to sustainable practices, Blake Nursery will recycle your plastic pots. We accept two types of pots for recycling:

High Density Polyethelene, or Blow-molded. These pots have thin walls and a soft, flexible lip. They often have vertical or horizontal ridges on the sides. We accept 1 gallon to 10 gallon sizes that are black in color. These sizes can be distinguished by writing on the bottom, example: "100 series"= 1 gallon; "200 series"= 2 gallon; "300 series"= 3 gallon. They should also have a #2 recycling logo on the bottom.

Polypropelyne, or Injection-molded.

These pots are more heavy duty. They have smooth sides and a sturdier lip. We accept 1 gallon to 20 gallon sizes that are black in color. These pots should have a #2 recycling logo on the bottom.

Pots should be delivered to the nursery, unless a pick-up location has been pre-arranged, and meet the above requirements. Please give your pots a quick rinse to remove mud, rocks and soil before dropping them off.  We will not accept broken or cracked pots.

Pulsatilla patens.jpg
Solar Panels

Solar Panels

This 5.5 kW grid-tie system was installed in January 2013 on top of our main shop. It offsets nursery and ranch power needs.

Carbon Credit Program

The Blake Ranch is one of a handful of Montana ranches taking part in a pilot carbon credit program. This program is a partnership between Western Sustainability Exchange , Native Energy (a company that sells verified carbon offset credits), Xanterra (the concessionaire for Yellowstone National Park, in this case the local carbon offset buyer) and a handful of small family ranches. The Blake Ranch, by implementing new grazing practices, acts as a producer of carbon offset credits purchased by Xanterra.

 

The funding for these credits is applied to building infrastructure aimed at increasing the capacity of our landscape to act as a carbon sink. The more organic matter our soils compile, the more potential exists for a healthy bio-community of microbes, fungi and plants. This nutritionally rich soil serves as a foundation for expanded terrestrial biodiversity including insects, small mammals, birds, native wild ungulates and of course will provide healthy and diverse feed for our cows. Soil carbon sequestration is a complex bio-geochemical process and it is difficult to measure. 

 

We value science here and look forward to what we will learn from the third party verification that will quantify the increase in soil carbon over the next several years. Continued application of funding from carbon credits towards these projects is dependent on this verification. How does this work? Blake ranch invests its carbon credit payments directly into materials and labor to construct permanent electric fence and water developments that will open up new opportunities to intensively graze (high intensity/ short duration/ extended rest period) with less labor in a few of our pastures. This type of grazing is intended to mimic the patterns of historic herds of bison and elk. The grass and soil have been conditioned to this over eons; and the system quickly begins to recover with less bare ground, increased biomass, greater species diversity, and enhanced soil health (higher carbon levels).  

 

Managing the land responsibly comes at a cost to us, typically in labor and materials, which are always in high demand. Learn more about this project by visiting the sites below.

Native Logo
Western Sustainability Exchange Logo
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