Guide to Establishing a Nursery in Alberta

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Alberta nurseries produce trees and shrubs in the field and in containers to be sold to markets that include landscape contractors, garden centres, municipalities and through the retailer to the homeowner. The nursery industry in Alberta is a relatively young industry. It faces the challenge of the harsh Alberta growing climate along with changeable winter weather which can affect the growth and survival of trees and shrubs. Successful Alberta nurseries produce high quality plant material, at competitive prices, as a result of technical competencies and business skills.

The Guide to Establishing a Nursery in Alberta suggests things to consider when selecting the site and type of nursery operation and it briefly outlines a business plan. The importance of a thorough business plan cannot be over stressed. Good planning can help make a new nursery successful. In the appendices there are references for nursery production and management guides, books, and government publications that can become a valuable part of the grower's library. This guide provides answers to many preliminary questions of a prospective nursery grower and will lead to sources of more detailed information.

Production systems
Nursery plants are either grown in the field or in containers. Field-grown plants can be dug in the early spring or, if there is adequate storage, in the fall. Harvested field-grown material sold as one of the following:

Balled and Burlapped (B&B) - the plant is dug with a quantity of soil around the roots and is wrapped with burlap and tied with twine.
Bareroot - the plant is harvested with the roots free of soil, the plants can be dug in the fall and stored or dug in the spring. Plants are dormant when they are sold.

Containerized - plants are dug bareroot and put into containers for sale.

Container-grown - plants which have been grown in containers for one or more years.

Machinery and equipment

  • large and small tractors
  • wagon
  • sprayer
  • back-pack sprayer
  • cultivator
  • plow
  • discs
  • tree-spade
  • small tools - hoes, spades, pruning equipment, shovels, mallet, etc.

Bachman's nursery
    N.G. Seymour, Nursery Crops Technologist, Crop Diversification Centre South

    Other Documents in the Series

      Guide to Establishing a Nursery in Alberta - Current Document
    Establishing a Nursery in Alberta: Site Selection
    Establishing a Nursery in Alberta: Field Production
    Establishing a Nursery in Alberta: Propagation Systems
    Establishing a Nursery in Alberta: Container Growing
    Establishing a Nursery in Alberta: Pest Management
    Establishing a Nursery in Alberta: Business Plan
    Establishing a Nursery in Alberta: Appendix A
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    For more information about the content of this document, contact Robert Spencer.
    This information published to the web on July 5, 2001.
    Last Reviewed/Revised on December 3, 2018.