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Chapter 16 nursery site selection, development, and facilities.

ABSTRACT

The environmental factors that should be considered when selecting a suitable nursery site include temperature, light, rainfall, wind, soil, topography, water, air pollution, and plant pests. The economic factors that should be considered when selecting a suitable nursery site include land cost and availability, labor, transportation, utilities and services, and competition. Developing a nursery for container- and field-grown nursery crops involves land leveling, road construction and design, irrigation, and land drainage, along with potting areas, greenhouses, coldframes, hotbeds, shadehouses, and overwintering houses. Storage and other facilities are also important to a successful nursery, including cold storage facilities, shipping areas, offices, pesticide storage and mixing areas, and storage buildings.

Objectives

After reading this chapter, you will be able to

* discuss the environmental and economic factors that should be considered when selecting a nursery site.

* discuss the proper way to develop a nursery for container and field-grown nursery crops.

* provide information on structures used for propagating and growing nursery crops.

* provide information on storage and other facilities that are important to a successful nursery.

Key Terms

air pollution

container nursery

field nursery

topography

INTRODUCTION

This chapter provides information on nursery site selection, development, and facilities required for a successful nursery operation. To select the proper nursery location, both environmental and economic factors must be considered. Environmental conditions such as temperature, light, rainfall, wind, soil texture, soil drainage, topography, soil fertility, water, air pollution, and plant pests at the potential location must maximize plant growth and development. After a site has been selected with suitable environmental conditions for high-quality plant growth, economic factors that affect a nursery operation must be considered. Economic factors that must be considered are land cost and availability, labor, transportation, utilities and services, and competition. The most suitable type of land to select depends on what works best for the specific nursery and the price range. For example, typically the best nursery sites are high-priced farmland, although this type of land may not be the most economical. Undeveloped land may initially be less expensive, but the cost of development is too high; therefore, it is important to consider what works best for the grower. A dependable supply of skilled and nonskilled labor is also essential to nursery operations. Good transportation facilities should be available to facilitate the transport of products to and from the nursery. Dependable telephone, waste-removal facilities, electrical power, and other utilities and services are also essential to the everyday functioning of the nursery. Competition from other nurseries located in the vicinity of the potential site being evaluated should be taken into consideration to minimize problems down the road.

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After careful consideration of environmental and economic factors, strategically organizing the nursery layout is important to maximize the production of crops. The two main types of nursery layouts are container and field nurseries. Container nurseries require two to three times less land per plant than field-grown plants (Figure 16-1). After the nursery layout has been established, the land must be prepared properly. Major objects such as trees, stumps, and other debris should be removed, and the land leveled. After the land is leveled, irrigation and drainage systems need to be installed as necessary. The road system should be installed to provide ample space for movement of nursery stock, equipment, and personnel. A variety of structures are used for propagation and subsequent growth of nursery crops, including potting areas, greenhouses, cold-frames, hotbeds, shadehouses, and overwintering structures. In addition to having structures for propagating and growing plants, a nursery needs a cold storage facility, a centralized building for shipping, office space, pesticide storage and mixing areas, and storage buildings.

NURSERY SITE SELECTION

The proper location is one of the most important factors when selecting a suitable site for a nursery. As is the case with selecting the proper location for a greenhouse range, it is important to consider carefully the environmental and economic factors. Therefore, one of the first steps in selecting the proper site for a nursery is to evaluate the environmental issues of a given location (Landis et al., 1995).

Environmental Factors

A nursery site's environment can affect high-quality plant growth. Growers cannot afford to neglect any of the following environmental factors when selecting a nursery site.

Temperature

The type of nursery crop being grown determines the importance of temperature in site selection. All nursery growers should be familiar with the USDA Plant Hardiness Map of the United States (Figure 16-2). The Plant Hardiness Map identifies 11 zones by average annual minimum temperatures for each zone. It also identifies 12 different zones based on the average number of days above 86[degrees]F, because some plants that can tolerate low temperatures cannot tolerate extended summers and high temperatures. After an initial site selection has been made using a Plant Hardiness Map, the grower should talk to local extension people and weather agencies to further confirm the selection.

Light

The location must have adequate sunlight to maximize plant growth. Supplemental light cannot be supplied to nursery crops grown under field conditions, so the grower must rely solely on sunlight. Plants vary in their need for light, so the location should be best for the particular crop that will be grown. Most trees require full sunlight to establish and grow at peak performance. Interestingly, an area that is continually subjected to dim lights from highways, streetlights, or other sources will stimulate vegetative growth if the proper temperature is available. The increased growth delays the onset of fall dormancy, which puts the new growth at risk for being injured by cold temperatures resulting during the winter months.

Rainfall

Knowing the rainfall pattern for a potential nursery location is also important. The amount of rainfall for a given location affects the type of nursery crops that can be grown. In locations where summer rainfall is limiting, the grower must select species that can tolerate moisture stress and be prepared to irrigate when supplemental water is needed. High rainfall during critical times for nursery operations is another important issue to be considered when selecting a potential nursery site. When rain comes at an inopportune time, the soil becomes saturated, which leads to the inability to get machinery into the field, delays the digging of trees and seedlings, and delays production schedules. Machinery on saturated soil causes damage to the soil structure and promotes soil compaction. Another problem that can occur when excessive rainfall comes at the wrong time is soil erosion.

Wind

Areas with high winds can cause nursery plants to fall over, resulting in damage. Other problems that result from excessive winds are soil erosion, especially with sandy soils; interference with important nursery operations, such as spraying; and others. To overcome problems with high winds, a nursery should be located in an area where natural windbreaks are present to protect the nursery or where artificial windbreaks can be installed.

[FIGURE 16-2 OMITTED]

Soil Texture, Drainage, Topography, and Fertility

The type of soil present at the site will determine the method used for digging plants in the nursery. The balled and burlapped (B&B) method (Figure 16-3) requires soil with a higher clay content that holds together when the plant is being dug, whereas the bare root production method requires sandy or loam soils. A soil with the proper texture and structure has a good moisture-and nutrient-holding capacity while providing good aeration and drainage. The potential nursery site should be naturally well drained, or, if necessary, through artificial drainage, which will add to production costs. Poor drainage leads to problems with soil aeration that may cause soilborne diseases. Another problem with poor drainage is that the soil takes longer to warm up in the spring and delays nursery operations.

[FIGURE 16-3 OMITTED]

Topography refers to the surface features of an area. Land should be relatively level with a slope of 1 to 2 percent for drainage. Steep or irregular land causes problems with soil erosion, land preparation, efficient use of nursery machinery, and the installation of roads and irrigation systems. Soil fertility is affected by the soil quality, which includes organic matter; proportion of sand, silt, and clay; nutrients; and other factors. The higher the quality of soil, the less input is necessary.

Water

The nursery should have a dependable supply of good-quality irrigation water, which is low in salts, fluoride, chlorine, and other contaminants. Most nurseries cannot be completely dependent on rainfall, and water must be supplied to maximize plant growth and, in some cases, to prevent plants from dying. When selecting a site, it is important to know what options are available from groundwater, lakes, rivers, and others. These sources vary in quality, cost, accessibility, and reliability of supply, all of which should be considered when selecting a site.

Air Pollution

Harmful or degrading material in the air causes problems for nurseries. Some common air pollutants are ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and ethylene. In highly populated areas and locations that are highly industrialized, the grower should pay close attention to the nursery crops that will be grown to avoid problems with pollution found at that specific location.

Plant Pests

The grower should not select a site where there are numerous pests that will cause major problems; the grower's crop is their most desirable host.

Economic Factors

After a site has been selected with suitable environmental conditions for high-quality plant growth, the economic factors must be considered.

Land Cost and Availability

The best nursery sites will also be high-priced farmland, but in most cases, this type land is not economical. Undeveloped land may initially be less expensive, but the cost of developing it may be very high. Another factor to consider is that land near areas of high population may be very expensive. Although land in rural areas may be less expensive, transporting materials and products both to and from the nursery may be very costly. Therefore, the piece of land selected should be best for the grower's particular needs and budget.

Labor

A dependable source of skilled and nonskilled labor close to the nursery is essential. A small number of permanent staff is necessary for nursery operations; however, a seasonal labor pool should also be readily available to meet needs on specific occasions.

Transportation

Good transportation facilities--such as truck, rail, bus, or airport--are an essential part of any nursery. Therefore, the nursery should be close to major highways and airports but not too close because pollution may become a problem.

Utilities and Services

Dependable telephone, waste-removal facilities, electrical power services, and others are essential to everyday functioning of a nursery. If a telephone line goes down frequently, telephone orders cannot be made, leading to a loss of revenue. If power goes off during the winter months, the loss of heating can result in the loss of tender crops.

Competition

Before placing a nursery, the grower should be aware of other nurseries located in the vicinity. Competition from other nurseries should be minimized.

NURSERY DEVELOPMENT

After careful consideration has been given to the environmental and economic factors, an informed decision can be made on the proper site for a nursery location. After the proper site has been selected, the nursery layout must be determined to maximize crop production. The two types of nursery layouts are container nurseries and field nurseries.

A container nursery grows nursery crops to a marketable size in containers that differ in size and shape according to the species and the marketable size desired (Figure 16-4). Container-grown plants require two to three times less land per plant as compared to field-grown plants. A field nursery grows nursery crops to a marketable size in the field (Figure 16-5). The type of layout should be chosen prior to establishing the nursery because both have different requirements.

After the nursery layout has been detailed and properly planned out on paper, the next important step is land preparation. Major objects such as trees, stumps, rocks, and other debris should be removed and the land leveled. After land leveling has been properly taken care of, irrigation line and drainage systems should be installed. Being able to provide water when needed is important, so a reliable source of water, sufficient pumping and pressurizing capacity, and a system that provides a uniform distribution of water is necessary. Good drainage is also a must so there is no standing water after a heavy rainfall, which would interfere with nursery operations.

After irrigation and drainage systems are in place, roads should be installed. The road system should provide ample space for movement of nursery stock, equipment, and personnel. Primary roads should be made out of concrete or asphalt, although secondary roads can be out of gravel.

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NURSERY FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT FOR CONTAINER AND FIELD NURSERIES

A variety of structures are available for propagating plants and supporting subsequent growth, so the method of propagation to be used must be known prior to selecting a structure. Structures for propagating and growing plants include the following:

* Potting areas should be centrally located and be free of disease and weeds.

* Greenhouses have the best environmental control for growing plants; however, they are also the most expensive (Figure 16-6).

* Coldframes consist of a wooden or concrete block frame with heat supplied by solar radiation through glass or another transparent covering. This is the simplest and most economical outside propagation structure (Figure 16-7).

* Hotbeds are similar to coldframes except that electric or hot water is used for heating.

* Shadehouses protect plants from environmental factors such as wind, temperature, hail, heavy rains, and solar radiation.

* Overwintering structures have a permanent frame, can be produced in a variety of sizes, and are covered annually with polyethylene to prevent nursery crops from being damaged during the winter months (Figure 16-8). The coverings are typically removed during the summer months to prevent heat buildup. This type of house can be constructed at lower investment costs than greenhouses, and this is the reason for their popularity.

[FIGURE 16-6 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 16-7 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 16-8 OMITTED]

Structures for storage and other facilities include the following:

* Cold storage facility. Temperatures between 34 and 40[degrees]F and a high relative humidity are typically used for storing bare root material. These plants are generally defoliated to reduce moisture loss during storage and lessen the spread of disease. A simple, inexpensive way to defoliate these plants on a small scale is to place a few buckets of apples in the storage area that will give off ethylene and cause defoliation. On a larger scale, sprays with the ethylene-releasing compound Ethrel[R] have been shown to be effective. After plants are defoliated, the leaves must be discard to avoid disease problems.

* Shipping. A centralized building is used to store material until ready for shipment. A lot of space is necessary to permit large trucks to maneuver and load plants.

* Offices. The main building with offices is an important sales tool and should be well landscaped because it is the first impression people have of the business. Sales staff, managers, accounting personnel, and others use these spaces. Parking areas outside this building should provide plenty of room for customer parking separate from employee parking.

* Pesticide storage and mixing areas. This area should closely follow EPA standards to avoid legal problems. All chemicals should be stored in approved containers and labeled appropriately. Pesticide storage buildings should have concrete floors that will contain spills if they occur. These buildings should be well ventilated and have temperature control to avoid problems with chemicals freezing or overheating. Materials that can absorb spills should be on hand in chemical mixing areas, together with facilities for employees to wash hands and clean up after mixing chemicals. All protective clothing and respirators should be stored in a room separate from the chemicals.

* Storage buildings. Equipment can be kept in these buildings during poor weather or when being repaired. Larger nurseries have workshops associated with these buildings for repairing and maintaining equipment. These buildings can also be used for dry storage of a variety of supplies, including fertilizers, pots, and tools.

SUMMARY

You now understand what is necessary to select a nursery site properly, develop the site, and create the necessary facilities for a successful nursery. Careful evaluation of environmental and economic factors is necessary when selecting a potential nursery site. Developing a nursery for container- and field-grown nursery crops includes leveling land, constructing roads, and implementing irrigation and land drainage systems. Structures used for propagating and growing nursery crops include potting areas, greenhouses, coldframes, hotbeds, shadehouses, and overwintering houses. Storage and other facilities important to a successful nursery include cold storage facilities, shipping areas, offices, pesticide storage and mixing areas, and storage buildings.

Review Questions for Chapter 16

Short Answer

1. Describe what a USDA Plant Hardiness Map is used for and explain the information it provides.

2. List four of the nine environmental factors that should be considered when selecting a suitable nursery site.

3. List three of the five economic factors discussed in the text that should be considered when selecting a suitable nursery site.

4. What are four common problems encountered in areas with high rainfall during critical times for nursery operations?

5. What are two types of nursery layouts?

6. What are four factors that should be considered in preparation of land for nursery development?

7. What are five structures for propagating and growing nursery plants?

8. What is a cold storage facility used for in a nursery?

Define

Define the following terms:

topography

air pollution

container nursery

field nursery

True or False

1. A Plant Hardiness Map of the United States defines areas where certain plants will or will not survive.

2. Areas of high rainfall during critical times of nursery operation should be avoided.

3. Common problems encountered when soil becomes saturated during critical nursery operations are delays in digging trees and seedlings.

4. Undeveloped land is inexpensive and always the first choice when selecting land for a nursery site.

5. Farmland is always the best choice when selecting a nursery site.

6. Plants grown in a container nursery require two to three times less land per plant as compared to field-grown plants.

7. A coldframe is a wooden or concrete block frame with heat supplied by solar radiation through glass or other transparent coverings. 8. Hotbeds are similar to coldframes except that solar radiation is used for heating hotbeds.

9. Greenhouses provide the best environmental control for propagating and growing plants; however, they are the most expensive.

10. Coldframes are the simplest and most economical outside propagation structure whereas greenhouses are the most expensive.

11. Shadehouses protect plants from environmental factors such as wind, temperature, hail, heavy rain, and solar radiation.

12. A cold storage facility is typically used to store bare root materials in nurseries. These plants are typically defoliated to reduce moisture loss during storage by treating with abscisic acid.

Multiple Choice

1. Areas with high rainfall during critical times of nursery operations should be avoided. Common problems encountered when soils become saturated include

A. waterlogging.

B. damage to soil.

C. inability to get machinery into the field.

D. All of the above

2. A container nursery should be

A. compact for total ease of operation.

B. spread out to maximize work conditions.

C. located in major cities.

D. All of the above

3. A field nursery requires

A. two to three times more land then a container nursery.

B. two to three times less land then a container nursery.

C. the same amount of land as a container nursery.

D. None of the above

Fill in the Blanks

1. The proper -- is one of the most important factors when selecting a suitable site for a nursery.

2. -- are commonly used to protect sites from excessive wind damage.

Activities

Now that we have completed our discussion on nursery site selection, development, and facilities, you will have an opportunity to explore this area in more detail. In this activity, you will visit a local nursery and gather the following information about the nursery site and its facilities:

* the mean temperatures for that region, annual rainfall, and other environmental factors that you feel are important.

* type of facilities at the nursery, such as greenhouses, coldframes, and so on.

* the type of nursery (container or field).

In addition to the information you were asked to gather, include your thoughts on the rationale for the selection of this particular nursery site. If you do not have access to a nursery, surf the Internet for two sites that present information on nursery sites, development, and facilities, and then summarize them. Provide the Web site address where you found your information.

Reference

Landis, T. D., Tinus, R. W., McDonald, S. E., & Barnett, J. P. (1995). Nursery planning, development, and management. In The Container Tree Nursery Manual, Vol. 1. Agric. Handbook 674. Washington, DC: Forest Service, USDA.
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Author:Arteca, Richard N.
Publication:Introduction to Horticultural Science
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:3468
Previous Article:Chapter 15 growing crops in the greenhouse.
Next Article:Chapter 17 producing nursery crops.
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