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Best Management Practices for Field-Grown Nursery Crops and Got Quality?

Best Management Practices for Field-Grown Nursery Crops and Got Quality?
Ted Bilderback, Professor and former Extension Specialist for Nursery Crops, currently
Director of the J.C. Raulston Arboretum, North Carolina State University

Field-grown nursery stock is one of the largest sectors of ornamental plant production in Kansas. Although many growers are familiar with field production of other agricultural crops (wheat, sorghum, etc.), they may have less experience with nursery stock. Some aspects of growing shade trees in the field are similar to other agricultural enterprises, but many characteristics—such as procuring line-out stock, spacing, planting, and managing a crop for more than one year—are quite different. Initially, new growers must plan a marketing strategy to identify clientele and determine what plant species or cultivars to grow. Depending on the final plant size at sale, growers can determine the field layout, spacing, and equipment required to meet the strategic plan. The more specific the marketing strategy, the easier it is to determine which plants to grow and how to design the planting plan.

Additionally, quality can be a challenging aspect of production to characterize. Dr. Bilderback will share his research-based insights into developing quality nursery stock.


Dr. Bilderback is a professor and Interim Arboretum director at North Carolina State University where he has been a member of the Horticultural Science Department since 1977. Ted’s research and extension programs have focused on environmentally conscious cultural practices for growing nursery stock. Extension, teaching, and research responsibilities for nursery crops include emphasis on cultural production techniques. Research emphasis includes plant water relations and nutrition of container nursery stock as related to manipulation of container substrates and irrigation practices.

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About Cheryl Boyer

Dr. Cheryl R. Boyer Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Ornamental Nursery Crops Department of Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources Kansas State University Research and Extension 2021 Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center, Manhattan, KS 66506-5507 Email: Twitter: @cherylboyer