Best Management Practice Use and Efficacy for the Virginia Nursery and Greenhouse Industry
Best management practices (BMPs) are used in the nursery and greenhouse industry to increase production efficiency, and also serve to help meet clean water limitations on contaminants entering waters such as the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Research is lacking on which BMPs are most widely used or most efficacious for Virginia nursery and greenhouse growers. Objectives of this work were to determine BMP use, barriers to adoption, and scientific efficacy.
We conducted a survey of Virginia growers to find the 1) most widely used BMPs, 2) reasons behind BMP use, and 3) any barriers to BMP adoption. Sixty growers (17%) responded to the survey. The most widely used BMPs included irrigation scheduling, integrated pest management, optimized irrigation efficiency, plant need based watering, grouping plants by water needs, on-site water capture and collection, and use of controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs). Cost was a barrier to BMP adoption, and environmental concern was a commonly reported reason for BMP use. We documented the science supporting selected water-related BMPs (grass buffer strips, CRFs, and irrigation optimization BMPs). Providing the science supporting BMP use gives growers confidence in implementing BMPs to limit water contamination, and prevent waste.