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A Survey of Irrigation Best Management Practices in Alabama Container Production Nurseries.




Carter, Caitlin

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis



Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



For over 100 years, nursery crop production in the United States has been well established and has become one of the most dominant, fastest growing sectors within agriculture. The green industry, specifically horticulture, is highly diversified in terms of practices and materials grown, with over 390 genera of ornamentals produced (Bilderback et al., 2013). It is estimated that the total production acreage in the United States alone is 981,625 and container production currently represents about 60% of the industry (Bilderback et al., 2013). However, within any industry, problems and concerns arise about production techniques and methods. Environmental impacts are always of concern within our industry and how it affects not only the materials produced, but the general public as well. To regulate these concerns, Best Management Practices (BMPs) were introduced in the late 1980’s. Even with the introduction of BMPs, the adoptions of BMPs have been limited, and growers are still struggling with many problems that arise during production or ornamental crops. The adoption of irrigation BMPs has significant potential for improvement while also providing the greatest impact of environmental and economic sustainability for the container nursery industry. The primary goal of this work is to identify the current irrigation practices, BMP implementation, water usage and water use efficiency across nurseries in Alabama. Analysis and summaries of this data will allow researchers and Extension efforts to better target specific needs while providing the greatest impacts for the Alabama nursery industry.