Chuck Denney-Narrator (UT Institute of Agriculture)
Grow it to a certain size and then sell it to someone else who can plant it in their yard. That’s the nature of this form of nature – growing ornamental plants. Almost everyone in Brandon Fuston’s family is in the nursery business in McMinnville, where they produce pear trees for landscaping.
Brandon Fuston (Fuston's Nursery)
“We kept growing. We kept growing, and now we’re running about 110 acres. We’re known in the Warren County business as if you need ornamental pears, give us a call.”
The nursery business in Tennessee generates more than $177 million in sales each year. There are more than 800 nurseries in the state – mostly concentrated in this area – about halfway between Nashville and Chattanooga.
There’s no question this part of the state has the climate for growing shrubs and trees such as dogwoods. But Brandon Fuston thinks the fact that there are so many nurseries here is also about tradition in agriculture.
'The sons and daughters, they grow up and it becomes into their blood and I believe once it got started, it becomes family traditions more now.”
Fustons was one of several Tennessee nurseries at this workshop put together recently by UT Extension. Nursery operators must work to keep their plants and trees safe from diseases and insects. Here producers learn how to calibrate what’s called an airblast sprayer, which distributes pesticides.
Dr. Amy Fulcher (UT Extension)
“Airblast sprayers are a crucial piece of equipment used in nursery production. They are essential for getting very good coverage of plants of all different sizes.”
Dr. Amy Fulcher is an assistant professor working in sustainable ornamental plant production and landscape management for UT Extension. She says in modern nursery management, producers need to obtain optimal pesticide coverage, but also limit excess pesticide use, which can be costly both financially and environmentally. To produce beautiful ornamentals, operators must be very precise in setting these sprayers.
Dr. Amy Fulcher
“Nursery production is very complex from the standpoint that it’s plants of all different ages, different sizes, and maybe most critically different species. And the often have their own associated pest problems. So getting good coverage is one more facet of that management.”
Short shrubs or tall trees – both need good coverage when it comes to pesticides. When you’re in the business of growing beauty for others to enjoy, good management is a must.