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Nursery & Greenhouse

Title Summary Date ID Author(s)
Dealing with the High Cost of Energy for Greenhouse Operations Jun 30, 2009 430-101
Getting Started in the Nursery Business -- Nursery Production Options

The nursery industry in Virginia has enjoyed an extended period of growth and expansion. Consequently, there is considerable interest in and some potential for new business opportunities in the industry. Another consequence of this period of economic growth is an increase in competition within the industry to supply the growing demand for landscape plants. Those interested in getting into the nursery business are strongly encouraged to invest their time and energy into learning as much as they can about the modern nursery industry, and the many options now available in nursery production, before they invest any money in facilities and operations.

May 1, 2009 430-050
Greenhouse Heater Checklist

I received several calls, last fall and winter, about problems with greenhouse tomatoes related to heaters. Some symptoms described by growers were: "the plants are drooping but aren't wilted", "the flowers on a cluster are falling off", "the plants have a twisted appearance", and "the plants don't look like they did last year". These symptoms coupled with other factors such as: a new heater was installed, using a very old heater, and using an unvented heater could mean ethylene damage.

Aug 17, 2009 2906-1387
Monitoring Nutrients in Large Nursery Containers

Using suction-cup lysimeters is a good way to extract the substrate solution from large containers when electrical conductivity, pH, and nutrient analyses are needed. A lysimeter, a soil water sampler, consists of a tube connected to a porous ceramic tip that is inserted into the container so that the tip rests on the bottom of the container. Lysimeters should be installed for the whole course of a growing season in large containers.

May 1, 2009 430-070
Pest Management Guide: Field Crops, 2015 Feb 13, 2015 456-016 (ENTO-70P)
Pest Management Guide: Horticultural and Forest Crops, 2015 Feb 16, 2015 456-017 (ENTO-71P)
Resources for Greenhouse and Nursery Operations and Operators

The Virginia Small Business Development Center Network
of the Virginia Department of Business Assistance
coordinates an extensive network of centers statewide that provide a broad range of business counseling
and technical assistance to new or existing small businesses. In the early stages of establishing a business,
the SBDCs within the Virginia network can provide assistance with the preparation of a business plan, marketing assistance, guidance with researching and approaching business financing sources, site location analysis, licensing and regulation information, and cash flow and tax counseling. Many SBDCs also offer specialized training workshops on various business topics, including bookkeeping, personnel management and utilizing computers. For more information and addresses of regional SBDC offices, call the SBDC State Director at (804) 371-8251 or visit their website: www.virginiasbdc.org/

Jul 1, 2009 430-104
Selecting and Using Plant Growth Regulators on Floricultural Crops

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are chemicals that are designed to affect plant growth and/or development (figure 1). They are applied for specific purposes to elicit specific plant responses. Although there is much scientific information on using PGRs in the greenhouse, it is not an exact science. Achieving the best results with PGRs is a combination of art and science — science tempered with a lot of trial and error and a good understanding of plant growth and development.

Nov 18, 2013 430-102 (HORT-43P)
Soil Sample Information Sheet for Commercial Greenhouse and Nursery Production Oct 14, 2013 452-126 (CSES-68NP)
The Basics of Fertilizer Calculations for Greenhouse Crops Jun 30, 2009 430-100
Using Plant Growth Regulators on Containerized Herbaceous Perennials

There is a tremendous diversity of herbaceous perennial plant species being grown for both the retail and landscaping sectors of the industry. Because of the diversity in species grown, there is much more unknown about perennials production than is known. Growth regulation is of particular concern. In production settings, as well as in retail locations, herbaceous perennials grown in pots tend to stretch and become leggy or simply overgrow their pots before their scheduled market date. These plants are less marketable, and harder to maintain. Many growers resort to pruning, which is not only costly in terms of labor, but also delays plant production two to four weeks.

Jun 8, 2012 430-103 (HORT-4P)
Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force May 20, 2014 PPWS-30
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Alternative Ground Cover
Ground covers are low-growing plants that prevent weed establishment and act as a living mulch. Desirable ground covers compete minimally for nutrients, light, water or space. They require minimal maintenance and return organic matter and nutrients to the soil (Figure 1).

Three factors help determine whether changing an existing ground cover is justified. Ask yourself these questions:

May 1, 2009 430-466
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Holly Pollination and Honey Bees
Most hollies, whether deciduous or evergreen, require a male plant as a pollinator to insure fruit set. Though some hollies will set fruit in the absence of a male, the resulting berries will have sterile seeds.

English holly (Ilex aquifolium), American holly (I. opaca) and winterberry (I. verticillata) are holly species having male and female flowers borne on separate plants (dioecious). Female plants produce flowers without viable pollen, therefore, they are dependent upon male plants for pollination.

May 1, 2009 430-468
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Orchard Layout and Planting

If you decide to grow either evergreen or deciduous hollies and have selected a location, plan the physical layout of your orchard. After designing the layout and prior to purchasing plants, prepare your land by plowing/disking, incorporating recommended fertilizers, applying herbicides and/or establishing an alternative ground cover.

May 1, 2009 430-467
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Pest Management
Insects, diseases, animals and environmental conditions can all injure holly plants. Monitor your plants frequently, and when signs or symptoms appear, use a systematic approach to diagnosing plant disorders.

Chewing Insects

Holly leaf miners are chewing insects that feed on hollies, preferably American hollies. The larvae are small, yellow maggots that tunnel between upper and lower leaf surfaces. Their feeding creates light-colored, scribble-like patterns on affected leaves. Unsightly mines result in aesthetic damage
May 1, 2009 430-469
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Planning and Site Selection
There is no substitute for careful planning when dealing with a long-term crop such as cut holly. While evergreen hollies mature in ten to twelve years, deciduous hollies take only three to four years before producing berries. Initial plant size, plus cultural practices, will determine berry production time.

Consider many factors before deciding whether to grow cut holly. If you are willing to invest in land, equipment and labor for a crop that will take several years before harvest, ask yourself the following questions. Are you willing or able to:

May 1, 2009 430-465
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Pruning, Harvesting and Marketing
Brilliant red berries make evergreen and deciduous hollies desirable as Christmas greenery. Cut holly berries and evergreen leaves are cold tolerant and retain much of their shape and color even when partially dry.

Holly cultivars vary as to the age at which the first berried branches (sprays) will be ready to harvest. On average, evergreen hollies mature in ten to twelve years while deciduous hollies take only three to four years before producing berried sprays for harvest.

May 1, 2009 430-470
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Vegetation Control

Control of grass, weeds, and brush is an important cultural practice. Before planting a holly orchard, develop a weed control strategy that will ensure good plant growth at a minimal cost. Reasons for vegetation control include:

  • reduction of competition (for light, moisture, nutrients, and space) that may hinder holly growth
  • reduction of insect and disease damage
  • reduction of interference with equipment and labor movement
  • prevention of accidental damage to young trees
  • reduction of damage by animals (deer, voles, etc.)
  • improvement of orchard appearance for marketing purposes
May 1, 2009 430-471