HORT40090 Nursery Production & Management

Academic Year 2023/2024

Topics within this module address different nursery markets, establishing a container and field nursery business; the role of shelter. Plant propagation environments, clonal material, stock plants, plant physiology, etiolation, juvenility, cutting location, hormones/growth regulators and their impact on propagation.
Propagation methods including soft wood, semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings, cutting types, budding, grafting and seed and tissue culture propagation technology, direct sticking, liner production and growing on of young plants, tree specifications, production and tree harvesting.
Substrates, nutrition and irrigation; Weed control and important pests and diseases. Nursery mechanization. Students will be introduced to Retail Horticulture topics such as image, customer service, product display, product pricing, and merchandising.
Students will be required to individually research one of the following plant propagation topics; cuttings, budding, grafting, seed, tissue culture and submit a document (2,500 approximately) on their chosen topic.
The assignment should be submitted via email at a date to be determined during the trimester. There will also be a written examination in this module which will occur during the last week (week 12) of the trimester.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
• Identify different markets for nursery stock
• Identify the requirements for establishing a commercial container and field nursery
• Evaluate commercially used propagation methods including cuttings, seed, grafting, budding and tissue culture
• Explain the differences between different propagation environments
• Make recommendations concerning plant rooting products, direct sticking, liner and container plant production systems.
• Evaluate mechanization in the nursery industry
• Evaluate different irrigation systems and assess their environmental impact
• Discuss substrates, and peat substitution products
• Assess weed control strategies
• Identify important Retail Horticulture/Garden Centre issues such as image, customer service, product display, pricing, and merchandising.
Students will have the experience of researching different plant propagation methods and making a written submission on their findings.

Indicative Module Content:

Establishing a commercial container and field nursery, nursery stock markets, nursery shelter
Propagation methods-soft wood, semi hardwood, hardwood, herbaceous cuttings, grafting, budding, layering, air layering, etiolation, seed and plant tissue culture.
Propagation environments- mist and fog, warm bench and plastic, weaning and autotrophic establishment of propagules.
Plant hormones and their use, direct sticking, tree specifications.
Field and container nursery mechanization - tree lifting and pruning, potting and seeding machines, plant distribution systems
Commercial irrigation systems and their role on plant growth and health
Nursery stock substrates and nutritional strategies
Principal Nursery stock diseases, pest and weed problems and control strategies
Introduced to the key elements of retail horticulture - image, customer service, product display, pricing, and merchandising.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Active/task-based learning; lectures; reflective learning; inquiry based learning. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Each student will be required to investigate a relevant topic from a menu of topics and submit a 2,500 word document.
Varies over the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Lab Report: Report (2 A4) on each site visit and lab Varies over the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Examination: End of trimester - Written examination 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback to students following submission and assessment Group/class feedback, following individual assignment

Media and Mixes for Container Grown Plants - A.C. Bunt.
Nursery Stock Manual – Lamb, Kelly & Bowbrick
Practical Woody Plant Propagation for Nursery Growers – Bruce MacDonald
The Complete Book of Plant Propagation- Graham Clarke and Alan Toogood
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed – McMillan Browse
Plant Propagation – Principles and Practices – Hartmann and Kester.
The Manual of Plant Grafting _ Peter T. MacDonald
Plant Propagation by Tissue Culture 3rd Edition - Volume 1 Edited by Edwin F. George, Michael A. Hall and Geert-Jan de Klerk
Nursery Management Administration and Culture- Harold Davidson and Roy Mecklenburg
Plant Production in Containers-Carl E. Whitcomb
Name Role
Dr Caroline Elliott-Kingston Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Noeleen Smyth Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Practical Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32 Thurs 11:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32 Tues 11:00 - 12:50