Nursery Crop Extension Research
Nursery Crop Extension Research

Nursery/Landscape Industry

Nursery/Landscape Industry

Nursery/Landscape Industry

Getting Started in the Nursery/Landscape Industry

Kentucky Grown Landscape Plant Availability Guide searchable database

A significant amount of study should be undertaken before any actual planting of a commercial retail or wholesale nursery is undertaken. Attendance at educational meetings and trade shows is very beneficial for getting to know the industry. Travel to visit nurseries of the type envisioned is critical to learning the opportunities and pitfalls of the different types of nursery operations. Developing direct personal contacts in the industry is necessary. Following the development of networks and a level of trust the use of phone, fax, and e-mail will become the method of communication, but knowing the person and having spoken to them face-to-face helps make things happen. Membership in regional, statewide, and local can be very advantageous to developing a good network. There is a certified nurseryman program offered by the Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Association that has proven to be both a great learning experience and a significant advantage in the form of a recognized reputation for the nursery if the owner and important employees are certified. Those with limited landscape experience are strongly encouraged to participate in the annual Landscape Design Clinic offered at the Kentucky Landscape Industries Winter Conference in January.

Before you plant a thing you should have a marketing plan.

A study of the land resources is always a first order of priority. Are you going to buy land? If so, what are the soil characteristics? Is the soil pH good for growing crops or are adjustments going to have to be made? Is the soil depth adequate for field production? Will a large expense be incurred if grade changes are needed for proper drainage and water recycling for a container nursery? Is the soil infested with Soybean Cyst Nematode (Soybean Cyst Nematode: A potential Problem for Nurseries ID-110) that could severely limit out-of-state export? Is there an adequate, clean, pest-free water source for the type and size nursery you are planning? There are many questions that must be answered before any plants are put in the ground or in containers. Mistakes are always costly in time and money.

Nursery crops are shipped across the country and around the world. A list of shipping companies that serve the nursery industry is maintained by the USDA at a transportation web site.

The study of plant characteristics is important. Trees, Shrubs, Ground Covers, & Vines Suitable for Kentucky Landscapes, HO-61 is a great place to start. The plant lists in HO-61 contain plants known to do reasonably well in Kentucky. To learn more about plants use the book resource lists in this publication or go to the links. Also, plant award programs will help give some guidance. Start with the Kentucky Theodore Klein Plant Award. The Pennsylvania Horticulture Society (PHS) Gold Medal Plant Award previously known as the Styer award after founder Franklin Styer has been selecting plants since 1989. A complete list PHS Gold Medal Plant Award selections can be retrieved at or by sending a self-addressed envelop ($.55 stamp) to PHS, c/o Gold Medal, 20th Street, 5thFloor, Philadelphia, PA 19103. The Ohio Plant Selection Committee list started in 1973 is specifically developed for nursery growers. For those growing perennials there Perennial Plant Association has a Perennial Plant of the Year Program.

Most plant publications refer to the National Arboretum USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. It is a map that identifies areas of average minimum cold temperatures. Plants are then rated on their tolerance to the cold temperatures encountered in a given zone. A plant that flourishes in Nashville, TN (zone 7) may be killed outright the first winter in Lexington, KY (zone 6). Our native Flowering Dogwood has a hardiness rating of zones 4-7 and has a wide range of distribution to the north but Camellia the beautiful winter flowering plant of the south is limited to zones 7-9.

There are plants known to be invasive that should not be grown, introduced, or sold. Check for a list of federal noxious weeds. Other sources of information on invasive species and native plants are: The Plants National Database by the Natural Resources Conservation arm of the USDA ; The Nation's Invasive Species Information System Plant Conservation Alliance ; Section 3B. Eastern Region invasive plants, ranked by degree of invasiveness as based on information from States : Biological Control of Non-indigenous Plant Species Cornell University department of Natural Resources ; Center for Biodiversity Forum- University of Connecticut ; Invasive Plants, Weeds of the Global Garden, Printed booklet from The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225-1099 USA; 718-622-4433. The Northeastern Weed Science Society maintain links to the national invasive species lists at Cultivars of some species are known to be noninvasive while the species is, so as a beginner it is wise to avoid growing any plant that may be questionable.

For plant identification submit a sample to Rob Paratley, Curator, UK Herbarium, 205 Thomas Poe Cooper Bl, Lexington, KY 40546, 859.257.3094,

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture prepares a Kentucky Grown Landscape Plant Availability Guide. Please contact Adam Watson, 100 Fair Oaks, 5 th Floor, Frankfort, KY 40601, , 502.564.4983, cell, 502.229.0954, in order to be included in the next edition of this invaluable marketing tool. To create a web page through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for your market go to To see what is going on at the Kentucky Dept. of Ag go to

Ken Tilt of Auburn University shared a list of Tennessee liner producers(the plants we put into the field or container to grown on to a saleable size) he received from Mark Halcomb, Nursery Specialist, UT, McMinnville, TN in his December 1999 Something to Grow On newsletter.

Do's and Don'ts to buy or produce the very best liner. The old adage "junk in, junk out" holds true for the nursery business and junk has no value. And it is not the "best available"; sometimes the best available isn't good enough to guarantee a finished quality plant. Know your plant; know your liners!!!!Do not spray any herbicide regardless of any assurances that it is ok on any living part of the plant. Do not remove the label from liners until the field is mapped and all plants in the field are properly identified. In-the-field block stakes that tell what the plant is; when it was planted; and who was the supplier provide very handy information to have to identify a plant and for comparing plants and their sources.

Do plant liners in the same direction, ie, start on the left or right of the field and continue in that direction to ensure the blocks of plants are easy to find and once the start of the block is known you can find the end of that block of a specific plant before the next plant block starts.

Hybridizing plants to create new cultivars is an activity of nursery owner/operators. This enterprise requires a thorough knowledge of the genetics and physiology of the plants to be bred. Once a plant is developed and evaluated it can be introduced to the public. Many plants are registered with an organization designated to act as the registry for a specific plant. The American Hemerocallis Society registers daylily cultivars, the Holly Society hollies, while the University of Minnesota Arboretum maintains the registry for Hosta. Some plants are patent protected for 20 years and many hybridizers trademark a name particular to the plant they are introducing. The cost of patenting is in excess of $1000, so one must be sure the plant is worth the cost. For a more thorough discussion of this topic read Paul Cappiello's article Tips - When a rose is a RoseTM. Information on patenting, trademarks, and a database of previously patented plants is available from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at Plants patented in the U.S. can be protected in Canada. Contact the Canadian Ornamental Plant Foundation, Box 21083, RPO Algonquin, North Bay, Ontario P1B 9N8 Canada, 705.495.2563, Fax 705.495.1449, International toll free 1.800.265.1629.0 e-mail . The COPF manages plant protection including collecting fees, monitoring who is growing what and selling to whom.

There are Connoisseur/Collector/Specialty nurseries that cater to people looking for plants not readily available to the average gardener. Most of these nurseries sell their products retail through a garden center-type market and mail-order. Some start out as a wholesale or mail-order nursery then integrate a retail outlet or display garden into their operation to satisfy their customers demand for a place to visit to meet the owners and see and buy their favorite plants. The days of being open to the public can be normal business hours or special days or weekends depending on the owner. The owners of such businesses mix with their customers at special plant meetings such as the Holly Society, American Hemerocallis Society, American Hosta Society, Bonsai Society, Southern or Northern Plant Conferences, etc.

With this type of specialty nursery there is a requirement for special efforts in marketing. Catalogs are frequently pleasantly illustrated with art or glossy pictures. Web page marketing is used by some specialty nurseries. Web pages frequently are filled with information on the owner(s), the nursery, and the owner's interests and activities. Some Kentucky examples would be Thoroughbred Daylilies and Gibson Perennial Gardens . Good examples of nationally recognized specialty nurseries on the web include Plant Delights , Collector's Nursery, and Heronswood, . Their web pages include narratives on their nurseries and collecting trips (additional perennial nurseries and tons of other information related to herbaceous perennials can be found on Perry's Perennial Pages

Utilizing current marketing technologies can greatly expand the market available to a Kentucky specialty nursery. Web pages can be linked through the home pages like Eureka that serves daylily nurseries.

Propagation Nurseries are those that propagate plants by seedlings, cuttings or graftage. They supply nurserymen with the plants to be put into the field or in a container to grow to landscape size. Propagators tend to be excellent plantsman (those with knowledge of many plants and their characteristics including, of course, how they are propagated) and very knowledgeable about the market demand for plants.

Field producers grow woody trees and shrubs in the ground that are harvested by ball and burlap methods. Pot-in-pot production systems are grouped with field production, but the harvest method is to pull the plant in it's growing pot from the permanent in-the-ground socket pot. Herbaceous perennial plants are also grown in the field and can be dug and shipped bareroot. Best Management Practices for Field production are discussed in a North Carolina State University Publication.

Container producers grow plants in containers, normally above ground. While the plants are immediately ready for use, the level of management is significantly higher than for field production. The Best Management Practices Guide for Producing Container-Grown Plants is available from the

Pot-In-Pot is a intermediate form of production that combines in the ground production with the marketing flexibility of container production. The level of management is also intermediate. Start up costs are high for irrigation and drainage systems, plus the socket pot that holds the production pot the plant is grown in, but overwintering costs are negligible compared to container production and overall return has been reported to be at or greater than for conventional field B&B or container production systems.

Soilless Substrate Management by Dava Hayden
Liners: Sweating
Weed Control
Nutrient monitoring
Bad stuff - April 6-9, 2007 Freeze Plant Damage in Kentucky and Tennessee
KY Water Quality Plans

Other Links
University of Florida Commercial Nursery Handbook
NCSU BMP's for Field Production of Nursery Stock
PennState Controlling Weeds in Nursery and Landscape Plantings 
The Container Tree Nursery Manual


The Following article was prepared by Dr. Ken Tilt , Professor of Horticulture, Auburn University and published in the newsletter Something to Grow On

Title: Small Steps to Improving Your Irrigation System, Reducing Labor and Increasing Your Bottom Line.

Irrigation is one of our most critical cultural practices in production of nursery crops and yet is one that we offer the least attention at most nurseries and in our research. A good thing about the water/plant relationship is that plants have evolved to tolerate extremes in water availability to account for nature's fickle schedule of irrigation. However, in the nursery BUSINESS, we do not strive just to keep plants alive. Our goal is to produce quality plants in the shortest time, using the minimum space possible with the least impact on the environment while reducing costs with efficient and effective use of our other resources. While a large segment of our industry is still made up of small family farms and plant lovers, a common comment often heard is that "the plants I like the most at my nursery are the ones that are going on the back of a truck and heading out to my customers". It is a business and the objective is not to keep plants around the nursery any longer than necessary. Our competition, production, business and marketing knowledge have increased over the years. We do not keep plants "past their time". One area we can improve on to shorten a plant's production time is to improve our irrigation practices.

Many nurseries have added some automation aids over the years, primarily to reduce labor. We are beginning to see some small advances in improving our irrigation practices as a result of environmental pressures and the great motivator, "MONEY"! There are a number of hardware and software irrigation factors we can adjust, improve and maintain to increase plant growth. The design of our nursery, the media we use and the container designs can also improve our irrigation efficiency and effectiveness.

Irrigation hardware includes items that get the quality (pre-tested) water from the water source to the plants. Pumps, filters, pipes, backflow devices, emitters and pressure compensators fall into this category. A professional should design hardware so that a uniform volume of clean water reaches each plant. If you do not treat all plants within a group the same, how can you get uniformity of growth or diagnose problems when they go wrong? Again, we are not just watering plants to keep them alive, we are trying to use irrigation management to get maximum growth. Hardware needs to be maintained and tested frequently for uniformity. Replacement parts should be parts designed for the system and not ones that just fit.

Irrigation software involves the mechanisms and equipment involved for scheduling and applying the appropriate volume of water to meet the needs of the plants. This can be as simple as sticking your finger in the substrate to feel the wetness (our manual sensor) or using irrometers to electronically quantify the moisture in the soil or how fast the plant is using it. This is an area where recent research efforts at Auburn University were targeted.

We began thinking complete automation by running wires throughout the nursery with irrometers in a number of pots to measure the water loss to the atmosphere and the plant. We wanted to replace that daily water loss each day with minimal leaching. We found the irrometers were not very accurate. So, we cooperated with our electrical engineers to write a complicated fuzzy logic computer program so the computer could monitor and "learn" the variability of the irrometer instruments and make corrections. We grew a crop of greenhouse plants in the to test the technology and it did great except for needing 100 wires and our own electrical engineer to make frequent adjustments to the program. Application of this technology can be done and I am sure it will be in the future, but for now, it is a big jump from a greenhouse crop of 40 plants to a nursery with millions of plants of different species, sizes, and highly variable water requirements even within the same species and container size.

Our plan of attack now is to continue making more improvements in irrigation application and efficiency than we are currently by taking practical, economically feasible baby steps. This involves combining current technology to partially automate irrigation and make the same normal, manual adjustments to environmental conditions that you would do if you had the time to stand by the tap all day and turn it on and off. We can use timers, light, rain, wind, evaporation, relative humidity Class A evaporation pans and temperature sensors. We can also adjust the substrate and container design so that it will hold more water while still maintaining a balance of air space. We know that as light, temperature and wind increase, plants will demand more water and conversely as these factors decrease and relative humidity goes up or it rains, we must reduce our irrigation to adjust for the plants lower water needs. That is simple. The problem is time and having experienced, knowledgeable people to be monitoring and adjusting for all these factors, complicated by the large number of species and sizes of plants. We need to use our experience to calibrate the electronic aids so that they can be monitoring the environment night and day and taking our place at the on/off switch.

The first thing to adjust is the substrate and water reserve. By adding 10 to 25 percent of peat moss or coir, we can increase the total amount of water held in reserve, the easily available water and reduce the frequency of watering. Research conducted at Auburn University on red maples in 15 gallon pot-in-pot production using media combinations of 4:1 pinebark:peat and pinebark:coir and 100% pinebark resulted in a 17% and 12% increase in height in the pinebark and peat over the other two media, respectively. We thought that we could adjust the water to compensate for the lower water holding capacity of the 100% pinebark mix. But, we found that the peat or coir added more available water and possibly greater nutrient holding capacity to generate more growth with the species we tested. Other research at Auburn has also found potential increase in growth by raising container holes and reducing them in size to limit leaching and increase the water reserve. This idea was originated by Rigsby Nursery in Fort Myers, Florida (941-543-3379) where Bob Rigsby developed the EFC container and continues to see benefits from this container modification. A side benefit to the smaller raised holes is the control of rooting out in pot-in-pot production, which Dr. Patricia Knight at Mississippi State University has investigated. We are doing follow up research on these factors to verify and fine tune the results that will hopefully continue to be positive.

Changing the volume of water applied and the frequency of application can also increase available water, reduce fertilizer loss and runoff from the nursery. This cultural practice is termed cyclic irrigation. With cyclic irrigation, the normal water volume you apply at one application is divided into equal amounts and applied 3, 6 or more times a day. Research has shown that this technique will give equal or increased growth with the added benefit of reduced runoff. This practice has proven effective in many research projects and is worthy of trying at your nursery.

Glenn Fain, a graduate student at Auburn University, grew red maples in 15 gallon pot-in-pot containers under 1,3 and 6 cycle irrigation treatments at Auburn University. Red maples had a 23% and 17% increase in dry weight while receiving the same total volume of water in 3 cycles and 6 cycles, respectively over dry weight production of trees under a single application of water. Total nitrogen leached per pot was reduced by 99% in the 6 cycle treatment over the 1 cycle treatment with an obvious increase of nitrogen retention in the containers receiving 6 cycles. More available nitrogen (within safe limits) yields greater growth. Rob Trawick, who just completed his research at Auburn, reported similar increased growth with cyclic irrigation on white cedar and Arizona cypress in 3 and 7 gallon containers, respectively. The volume of irrigation applied in this research was 0.59 gallons per 3 gallon container daily (unless interrupted by ½ inch or more of rain) from April to mid June. The volume increased to 0.81 gallons until mid-July and peaked at 1.0 gallon per pot from July until mid September. The 7gallon Arizona cypress received a total application water volume during each of the above intervals of 0.63,1.0, and 1.03 gallons at each application. Volume of water applied was based on replacing moisture loss during the day and is explained below.

Future research will look at applying the irrigation at different times of the day with varying volumes to adjust for the different water demands as you go through the day. You can calculate the approximate water to add each day by watering the plants on a bright, hot day, allow for drainage to stop, then weigh the container to determine the weight at the maximum water holding capacity or "container capacity". At the same time the next day, weigh the plants again prior to irrigation. Container capacity weight minus the weight the next day in grams equals the daily water loss in milliliters. Use this as an estimate on the total volume of water to apply each day. This is basing your water needs on the extreme case of clear days and high temperatures. This volume could be adjusted with data coming from temperature, light, wind and relative humidity sensors. Applying water in smaller increments using cyclic irrigation, you increase the volume of water held in the container and fertilizers are not leached as readily. The other adjustment method is to use cyclic irrigation and monitor the amount of leaching after irrigating. You would like to minimize the total leachate to less than 15 to 20% of the total water applied. Some of the cycles in the heat of the day may not have any leaching.

If you are going to consider cyclic irrigation, (and current research points to positive results), you will need a controller or a computerized monitoring system. Controllers and timers are less expensive ranging from $200 to over $2000. There are many different irrigation jobs that you manage on the nursery including propagation and monitoring various sized containers and species of plants with inherent variability among and between species. They are also at varying stages of growth. The flexibility of a computer system may be the economic and sound business choice to manage it all. Computer irrigation management systems range from $5000 to $10,000 or more, obviously depending on the size of nursery. Two companies that offer this equipment are Q-COM in Santa Ana, California (949-837-8418) and World Wide Water, Inc., Apex, NC. (919 362-4200). These management systems allow you to take a big step towards controlling and monitoring your irrigation. Computer systems can be a big capital expenditure but no more costly than many media mixers or other equipment used on the nursery and equally or more important than these other cultural practices.

The next step is to begin to monitor the amount of water applied and keep records for future scheduling. As water restrictions continue to tighten, we will be required to measure our water use. Flow meters are added to the system to help you monitor and adjust duration and volume of irrigation. A Mini Clik or an Electronic Rain Gauge ($100) can be added to turn off the water when a critical amount of rain falls on the plants. This certainly makes sense to add one of these devices rather than irrigating automatically during a blinding rain storm or running back and forth to the valve to manually shut off the irrigation and reschedule. With an irrigation management system, if you received ¼ inch of rain, simple commands could be added to skip one or two cycles of irrigation that day. This same flexibility can be applied for temperature, light and relative humidity sensors. Our current research is evaluating the value of these sensors, individually and in concert to determine an economic, practical system to partially automate your irrigation while increasing growth or at least reducing labor and runoff into groundwater systems. The system does not replace you but it sure saves miles of running each week and a few premature gray hairs from worrying whether plants were irrigated and if it was too much or too little. With computerized systems you can train your electronic eyes and finger in the field to keep data of what is going on and to alert you if things are not going as you instructed. A deviation in the flow to the containers at a set percentage, too much or too little, signals the computer to sound the alarm or call one or several people to let them know a problem exists or it can be instructed to call every day at a specified time to let you know all stations were irrigated. So, this is not a system just for the large nurseries. It also offers peace of mind and possibly a free day or two away from the nursery for the small nursery manager.

When it comes to irrigation, almost all growers believe we can do better than what we are doing and still make it profitable to take the small steps to improve. There will be a learning curve in the beginning to fine tune your electronic finger and eyes to manage the irrigation but after you get your system up and running you will find you will have much more freedom, peace of mind and still be able to reach the ultimate objective of uniform quality plants heading out the nursery gate. Many Universities in nursery states are working on these irrigation opportunities. Stay alert as new information develops for improving your irrigation effectiveness and begin to take small steps to improve your irrigation management.

Editors note: Alot of research has been done since Ken wrote the above article. Ted Bilderback's research indicates in North Carolina cyclic irrigation applied in the afternoon early evening is of greter benefit than morning applied. Some debate about cyclic irrigation has occured with some norhtern states reporting no benefit. Testing in your growing environment is needed to make good management decisions for your nursery.

Weed Control in Nurseries by Dr. Robert McNiel (based on Dr. McNiel's article in Nursery Views, 1999, vol 29(4):10)

Weed control in nurseries is an ongoing management problem. How does one keep up with current recommendations? The time-proven skills necessary for weed management are the same today as they were thirty or forty years ago. Skills include weed identification, weed scouting, weed management strategy, and weed control.

Weed identification is the first step. It is not only necessary to be able to identify the plant, but also know something about its life cycle (one of four) or other biological properties (sedge vs. grass, etc.)

Scouting helps determine planning not only for the current year but also for subsequent years. Early summer and fall are the minimum requirements for scouting times. Scouting determines the need for spot control to ensure field control.

Weed management strategies can be assembled once the prior two components are completed. Knowing the plant biology of each species may mean that a certain weed may be tolerated over others. It will assist in determining what practices should be implemented at various rimes of the year. Knowing weed populations ahead of time may allow for difficult to control weeds to be handled in a much different way between crop rotations. Prevention procedures can be implemented in order to reduce weed pressure in the future.

Weed control can be carried out using a range of techniques such as manual, mechanical, mulching, using cover crops, or using herbicides. Any one of these could be used by itself or all could be carried out in combination with each other. As these options are considered, remember, economics, crop safety, environmental stewardship and worker protection are all part of the total weed control package.

Now, let's focus on where one can obtain more information. The quickest way could be the Internet. Several sources are available for identification assistance while others may be more useful for their recommendation sections.

Kuhns, Larry. The standard for many years - Controlling Weeds in Nursery and Landscape Plantings 
Larry Kuhns retired so the most current edition is 2007, therefore, the chemical recommendations should be double checked with current labels.

Bernard, C.S., J.C. Neal, J.F. Derr, and A. Krings.  2009.  Weeds of Container Nurseries in the United States (Online)­Beta.  North Carolina State University, Raleigh.
Bernard, C.S., A. Krings, J.C. Neal, and J.F. Derr.  2009.  Weeds of Container Nurseries in the United States Mobile 1.0­Beta.  North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

Go to the weed icon and you will have links to herbicides, control in landscapes, control in nurseries, weed ID, etc.

This will give you the index to application procedures, calibration procedures, info on herbicides, lists of plants and weeds on herbicide labels, etc.

Not only are you provided lists of weeds and an ID guide but the North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual Section VIII is devoted to weed control in ornamentals. This is an award winning site devoted to images for weed identification and descriptions. You will reach a weed index which will contain multiple photos and descriptive information on weeds.

This is the home page for the Weed Science Society of America. Publications are available through this site.

The 1997 and 1998 Southern Nursery Association Research Conference Proceedings are online. At each go to the weed control section. You will be able to observe or print off specific research articles which may relate to your weed problem or crop.

For information on invasive species.

Pruning of trees and shrubs in the production system is both an art and a science. Most growers work out their pruning program to the desired result. Shade trees are often pruned in both winter and summer to ensure that a central leader is maintained and the shape of the head of the tree is in proportion to the trunk. Shrubs are pruned regularly to establish a height and density for the planned market. Plants grown for the landscape trade tend to require specialized pruning while inexpensive plants for the discount trade may be allowed to grow looser and taller before pruning in order to get to a size quickly thereby reducing costs and accommodating the pricing requirements of the purchaser. The tape used for retraining the central leader by taping a lower branch up against the trunk to become the central leader is 3M2307 3/4" x 60' per roll. A belt strap for the tape is available from Forestry Supplies, Inc. Information on pruning Field Grown Shade and Flowering Trees is available at this site

In the landscape and plants grown for cut flowers and stems are often pruned differently than those in plant production systems. Dick Bir gives a good example of the differences one can encounter even within a genus in his paper on pruning hydrangeas

Overwintering of container plants, plants maintained at the landscape site, or plants pre-dug and ready to ship as ball-&-burlapped plants are all susceptible to root freezing damage. Roots do not harden to levels the tops of the plants do, therefore, winter protection is often needed in Kentucky.

Nutrient management and monitoring is important to getting maximum growth with minimum loss to the environment. Loss to the environment is also an economic loss, so monitoring to avoid loss and at the same time provide adequate nutrient for the plants is a "win, win" situation. The "Virginia Tech PourThru Technique" originally described by Dr. Robert Wright was based on monitoring the amount of soluble salts leaching out the bottom of the container following an irrigation event. A recent publication on the topic, Using the PourThru Procedure for Checking EC and pH for Nursery Crops, has been prepared by Ted Bilderback of NCSU. The UK Nursery Group Pour Thru Extraction Technique Protocol is an abbreviation of Dr. Wright's VATech publications, Dr. Ted Bilderback's NCSU publication and Yeager et. al. in the BMP:Guide for Producing Container-Grown Plants. Amy Fulcher, UK Extension Associate for Nursery Crops has prepared a Nutrient Monitoring - Pour Through Technique Record Keeping Form that is assists in tracking trends in the nutrient status of the crop and fine-tuning nutrient management programs. With the advent of pot-in-pot production systems the lifting of the pots and elevating them so leachate can be collected from the bottom of the pot is not practical. Suction-cup lysimeters (Soil Moisture, Inc.) Allow media water to be collected without removing the container from the ground (socket) pot. A Suction-cup Lysimeter (SCL), is a tube with a porous ceramic tip. The SCL is placed in the growing media, with the tip at the bottom of the container, in the pot-in-pot system. Using a hand vacuum pump water in the media is pulled through the ½ bar porous tip into the tube where it can be extracted with a tube and syringe, then tested for soluble salts. This is a modification of the VTECH "pour-through" method used on above-ground containers so that the water can be extracted without having to lift large-heavy containers with a plant from the socket pot and place it on a elevated surface in order to pour-through water and collect the leachate for a soluble salts reading. On-line information on SCLs is available from and a research paper on suction-cup lysimeter use by Ron Walden and Alex Neimeira was presented at the 1997 SNA Research Conference is available in Proceedings 42:165-167, or the SNA web site

KY Ag Water Quality Plans

A web-based tool for completing KY Ag Water Quality Plans is available for all producers with 10 acres or more in agriculture or silviculture production that must develop and implement a water quality plan for their operation.

Nursery inspection Homepage: Joe Collins & Carl Harper are the nursery inspectors for the state and work at the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology. The State Entomologist for Kentucky is John J. Obrycki, Ph.D. Office of State Entomologist, Nursery Inspection, University of Kentucky S-225 Agricultural Science Center - North, Lexington, Kentucky 40546-0091

Nursery/Dealer Application for form

Phytosanitary Certificate Application Form

Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Professional Ground Maintenance Society

Kentucky Arborist Association (KAA), url,

Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Association (KNLA),502-330-8300P.O. Box 5006, Frankfort, KY 40602; e-mail,; url,

Louisville Nursery Association, ,

Central Kentucky Ornamentals and Turf Association

Regional and National

AmericanHort , Merged OFA, Ohio FLorist Association and ANLS, American Nursery & Landscape Association.

International Plant Propagators Society: Eastern Region; Margot Bridgen, 26 Woodland Road, Storrs, CT 06268, 860.429.6818, E-mail: homepage

International Plant Propagators Society: Southern Region;

Perennial Plant Association, 3383 Schirtzinger Road, Hilliard, Ohio 43026, 614.771.8431, Fax 614.876.5238, e-mail homepage

PLANET - Professional Landscare Network.

Professional Ground Maintenance Society,

Southern Nursery Association, Southern Nursery Association, Inc., PO Box 801454, Acworth, GA 3010; 678.809.9992; Fax: 678.809.9993; e-mail,; url,

See Win Dunwell's Ornamental and Environmental Horticulture Books References for Nursery/Arborist Operators

Sarah A. White and William E. Klingeman, editors; authors are members of Southern Nursery Integrated Pest Management group (SNIPM). 2014. IPM for Shrubs in Southeastern US Nursery Production: Vol I . or

Fulcher, Amy and Sarah White, editors, authors are members of Southern Nursery Integrated Pest Management group (SNIPM). 2014. IPM for Select Deciduous Trees in Southeastern US Nursery Production. or

Tony Avent - So You Want to Start a Nursery is a great resource for those considering entering the nursery business. It includes lessons Tony has learned starting, expanding, and operating Plant Delights Nursery, Raleigh, NC, and his opinions on what it takes to operate a successful nursery. The topics covered are those that all nursery operators must address; the sooner, the better. I have always recommended new people learn all they can through study, visiting other nurseries, and building a network of resources over one or more growing seasons before putting a plant in the ground or in a container. Now I will add, and strongly recommend, that they read Tony's book as part of that learning investment. (Timber Press, 2003):

American Standard for Nursery Stock, ANSI Z60.1-2014, May 12, 2004 edition

Armitage, Allan M.. 2008. Herbaceous Perennial Plants, 3nd edition. Stipes Publishing, Champaign, IL

Best Management Practices: Guide for Producing Nursery Crops, 3nd Edition, 2013, Order from SNA 

Dirr, Michael. 2009 . Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. Stipes Publishing Champaign, IL.

Dirr, Michael and Charles Heuser. 1987 (2nd Ed., 2006). The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation: from Seed to Tissue Culture. varsity Press, Athens, GA.

Gilman, Ed. 2011. An Illustrated Guide to Pruning, 3nd Edition. Delmar, Thompson Learning, Inc.

Hartmann, Kester, Davies, and Geneve. 2011. Plant Propagation: Principles and Practices, 8th Edition. Prentice Hall, NJ.

Amazon.Com, order via worldwide web,

American Nurseryman, 77 W. Washington St., Su 2100, Chicago, IL 60602-2904 U.S.A. 1.800.621.5727, homepage:

Grower Talks Bookshelf, P.O. Box 9, Batavia, IL 60510 USA 1.888.888.0013, Fax 1.888.888.0014, homepage:

Raymond M. Sutton, Jr. Books (used books), P.O. Box 330, 430 Mail Street, Williamsburg, KY 40769 606.549.3464 Fax 606.549.3469 e-mail suttonbks@2geton.netwebsite

Timber Press, The Hasseltine Building, 133 S.W. Second Ave., Su 450, Portland, OR 97204 U.S.A. 1.800.327.5680, 503.227.2878, Fax: 503.227.3070, e-mail: homepage: 

American Nurseryman, Chicago, IL See American Nurseryman Publishing above
Nursery Management and Production, NMPro, free
Greenhouse Management and Production, GM Pro, free
garden center Merchandising and Management, gcMM, free
Garden Center Products and Supplies, GC P*S, free
Branch-Smith Publications, P.O. Box 1868, Fort Worth, TX 76101 817.882.4120 800.433.5612 Fax 817.882.4121, Homepage; 
Landscape Maintenance, 600 Superior Ave. E., Suite 1100, Cleveland, OH 44114 800.669.1668, Fax: 216.706.3712800..225.4569, Fax 440.891.2675.
HortIdeas, 750 Black Lick Road, Gravel Switch, KY 40326 

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N-318 Ag. Science Center North Lexington, KY 40546-0091