Most plant materials marketed in the United States are produced in containers under controlled growing conditions at large (> 20 ha) nurseries located in southern and pacific coast states. The nursery/greenhouse business is one of the fastest growing segments of American agriculture accounting for 11% of all crop income in 1991. Runoff and irrigation return flow from containerized nursery facilities can contain nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria, certain pesticides, various salts, and trace metals. Because of their large size, the intensity of the growing cycle, the huge volume of water needed to produce the product, and the concentration of these nurseries in certain areas, there is the potential for diffuse pollution from these nurseries to adversely impact a number of surface and ground water systems in the southern and western United States. Discharges from nursery/greenhouse operations are not federally regulated although some states require large facilities to obtain discharge permits. A number of larger nurseries in Texas, Oklahoma, and California have designed and installed pollution control and prevention systems that appear to be effective. This paper will provide background information about containerized plant culture and discuss the structural, vegetative, and management Best Management Practices that are in use at two different large containerized nurseries in Texas.

You do not currently have access to this content.