Nurseries for horticultural crops are critical as this is the starting point for seedling production. A well prepared and managed nursery is a key determinant of the quality of seedlings that are produced and subsequently planted in the field. The appropriateness of the site and the management of seedlings at the nursery are also important in getting good quality planting materials.
What is a fruit tree nursery?
A nursery is a specially prepared place on the farm or a specially selected site where fruit trees are propagated for either own use or for sale to other users. Plants in the nursery can be grown in an open field nursery, in containers (polythene bags) or in a green house.
Why operate a nursery?
Nurseries provide income-generating opportunities, act as models for further nursery development, provide seedlings more cheaply to buyers, and can raise the particular species that local people are interested in.
A nursery is a place where young plants are raised from seeds, cuttings, grafting and budding. These young plants are cared for until they are planted out in the field. When a nursery is established, one must be keen to protect and nurture the seedlings. When
you establish a nursery, you are sure to get enough seedlings for your use and at the time when
you need them.
Why is a nursery important?
• Helps to avoid genetic variability through the use of vegetative propagation
• Supports the grower or buyer of seedlings to select healthy plants for field establishment as
poor plants are discarded at the nursery
• Helps in propagating some plants that cannot be propagated through seed.
What determines the size of the nursery?
Size depends on the area available for final production of the passion fruit in the field. The size will also be dictated by the method used to raise the seedlings, that is, pots or beds. In the case of passion fruits, both beds and polythene bags will be used to raise seedlings for the desired variety and those that will be used as the root stocks for grafting.
Criteria for location of nursery site
1. Locate the nursery near a reliable supply of water. This can be a river, ponds or water tanks.
2. Ensure the site is easily accessible to be able to manage plants and transport mature
seedlings to planting sites and customers are able to get seedlings easily.
3. Choose a site with good soils that are well drained.
4. Ensure the site is protected from strong winds. This can be done by planting quick
growing tree bushes or setting up an inexpensive fence as a wind-break.
Once a suitable site has been identified, it is time to start work in the nursery. This starting time depends on when field planting is planned. It is important to allow sufficient time for seedlings to grow to a size where they will survive well when transplanted to the field.
Steps to prepare the nursery site
1. Clear the identified area for the nursery in preparation of all subsequent operations. The clearing involves removal of weeds, bushes or trees growing on the site.
2. Dispose off all the weeds, bushes or trees cleared from the site as per the guidelines of National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).
3. Erect a perimeter fence around the nursery site to keep off unauthorized entry, wild animals and livestock who can destroy the site or structures that will be subsequently constructed.
• Decide on the layout and measure space between posts for the fence.
• Firm the fencing posts for the perimeter fence in the proper way in order to have a firm fence around the nursery site.
• Decide on the right fencing wire to be fixed on the posts and complete the fencing.
4. Install lockable gates at the entry points to the nursery site.
5. Reuse or recycle materials cleared from the site or the remains from the fencing material.
6. Clean the site after clearing and erecting the fence.