WSU CAHNRS

Washington State University Extension

Clark County

Garden Center – Nursery Management

Site Selection

Wholesale Nursery Site Selection. The time spent selecting the right spot for a wholesale field or container nursery will be rewarded by strong plant growth, and ease of management. If it takes a number of months to find an ideal site the prospective horticulturist will have had the time to review a number of different parcels at different times during the year and will have been able to employ a number of important selection tools.

Business Fundamentals

Ten Traits of Entrepreneurs. New nurseries and garden centers are started every year in order to serve the growing desire for plants to fill gardens, business parks, and greenscapes. In order to improve the chances for success the beginning entrepreneur must have a creative and enthusiastic ability to handle not only the production side of horticulture but also the financial and organizational skills inherent to starting any new business. These traits should be reviewed before any new enterprise is contemplated.

Production

Designing a Field Grown Nursery. Raising field grown stock generally appeals to owners who are looking to establish a nursery without the high up-front costs establishment and labor that are inherent in a container operation. As opposed to growing plants in either above ground or fabric containers, field grown stock requires less irrigation (or none at all), fertilizer, weed control, disease and insect control, and concern over winter protection.

Soil Management for In-ground Nursery Crops. In-ground nursery stock producers must rely on ground preparation and preservation in order to raise and harvest healthy field stock. When nursery soils are managed correctly they can continue to well into the future supporting many rotations of stock production and ease of harvest.

Greenhouse Structures

Greenhouse Covering Materials. The greenhouse covering, or glazing as it is referred to in the industry, represents the greatest decision in selecting the design for the greenhouse. There are a number of different materials to choose from, each with their own inherent advantages and disadvantages.

Labor Management

Employee Empowerment and Team Work. An effective organization is one that has provided employees the responsibility and authority to make decisions for nearly all aspects of production and marketing. Employees that have been empowered generally have better motivation and self-esteem, an increase a sense of ownership in the business, and tend to get along better with their colleagues.

Marketing

Independents Can Compete Successfully with Mass Merchandisers. The entire retail industry is in a transition mode as the world experiences the ever-expanding reign of mass merchandisers, often referred to as chain stores. The independent lawn and garden retailer now must compete with Home Depot, Kmart, Wal-Mart, and Lowe’s, among others, for the home gardeners demand for plants and related accessories.

Developing a Successful Image. A success independent retailer has studied the local market, looked at the potential customer base, built an interesting shop, and stocked it with a focused array of merchandise. In short, everything about the business reflects an image.

 

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