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About Us

Project Goals

  • To move the nursery industry towards sustainability by training Extension agents, Extension specialists and commercial growers (producers) in the area of sustainable nursery production methods.
  • To enhance the environmental sustainability of nursery production while maintaining economic sustainability.


Project Description

Nursery producers (“farmers”) have often resisted the implementation of sustainable practices in the past, be it due to the increased infrastructure/input cost of producing sustainable plant material or simply the opportunity cost of training employees on new production techniques. However, in recent years there has been increased interest in sustainable production practices for several (mostly economic) reasons.

This project’s goal is to move the nursery industry towards sustainability by training Extension agents, Extension specialists and commercial growers (producers) in the area of sustainable nursery production methods. Conventional nursery production relies heavily on use of plastic containers, chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and imported substrate (“potting soil”) components. A team lead by University of Florida and University of Georgia faculty will instruct Georgia and Florida Extension agents on topics related to sustainable nursery practices that reduce production inputs and associated costs. Other team members include a sustainable nursery producer, faculty from the University of Georgia, and two faculty from the 1890 institution, Florida A&M University. Our team will develop resources and provide a curriculum for county Extension faculty to train existing and prospective nursery producers. An advisory committee of existing nursery producers will assist in developing and revising resources and curriculum to result in effective, “real-world” tools for county Extension faculty and their clientele. The completed curriculum and resources will be available nationwide from this website and videos will also be available from the University of Florida Virtual Field Day webpage. The objective of this project is to convince existing and prospective nursery producers to adopt sustainable nursery production practices as outlined in the resources and curriculum generated by this grant. The long-term goal of this project is to enhance the environmental sustainability of nursery production while maintaining economic sustainability.

Practices that move producers towards sustainable production of nursery plants could foster the development of new specialty sustainable-production nurseries thus creating a new market niche for small and mid-size farms (i.e., “locally grown using sustainable methods”) as well as promoting productivity and sustainability for limited resource farms. With the adoption of more sustainable practices, producers should also have the ability to reduce input costs related to fertilizers and chemicals and hence reduce potential point source nutrient and chemical pollution.


Team Members

Team members include personnel from the University of Georgia, University of Florida and Florida A&M University.


Matthew R. Chappell, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Horticulture
and Statewide Nursery Production Specialist

University of Georgia
Horticulture Department
211 Hoke Smith Building
Athens, GA 30602
Phone: (706) 542-9044

Ph.D., 2007, Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
M.S., 2001, Crop and Soil Environmental Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
B.S., 1998, Horticulture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Professional Experience:
8/2007 – Present: Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
1/2002 – 5/2007: Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
5/1998 – 12/2001: Graduate Research Assistant, Crop and Soil Environmental Science Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061
8/2000 – 7/2001: Fulbright Fellow, Crop Science Department, Swedish Land Studies University, Alnarp, Sweden

Fields of Interest and Experience:

  1. Extension programs and applied research to reduce irrigation volume in and point-source nutrient pollution from Georgia ornamental production nurseries.
  2. Screening plant material for invasive potential in various climactic areas in Georgia and screening plant material for ‘invasive alternatives’ to known invasive species.
  3. Reducing transportation costs and carbon footprint of nursery operations by investigating the potential for regional and/or statewide shipping cooperatives.

Faculty Position Description:
Dr. Chappell is a Statewide Extension Horticulturist in the Department of Horticulture. Programmatically he is responsible for planning and coordinating statewide Extension programs to support the nursery industry. He also assists county agents with nursery production/management trouble-shooting and local programming. He also teaches Master Gardener training classes on a wide variety of horticulture topics throughout the state. He is the UGA Faculty Liaison and Education Chairperson for the Georgia Green Industry Association and interacts regularly with other Horticulture Trade Associations, including the Georgia Turfgrass Association, Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association, Georgia Irrigation Association, and Urban Agriculture Council. He is also the UGA faculty liaison and Research Coordinator for the Center for Applied Nursery Research; a regional research facility located in Dearing, GA. Additionally, he is the Vice-chairperson of the Center for Urban Agriculture, a UGA Center located at the Urban Agriculture Experiment Station in Griffin, GA. He authors news articles and trade journal articles, authors and/or revises Extension bulletins, circulars, departmental fact sheets, and prepares and/or revises PowerPoint presentations and videos to support county Extension programs relative to commercial production. Dr. Chappell holds a 15% teaching appointment. In addition to teaching HORT 3630 (Nursery Management), he is the Professional Landscape Network UGA Faculty Coordinator and Advisor to the University of Georgia Horticulture Club.


Gary W. Knox, Ph.D.

Professor of Environmental Horticulture
and Extension Specialist

University of Florida/IFAS
North Florida Research and Education Center
155 Research Road
Quincy, FL 32351

Ph.D., 1984, Horticulture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
M.S., 1981, Horticulture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
B.S., 1978, Horticulture, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA

Professional Experience:
University of Florida, Professor, July 1999-Present, Tenured
University of Florida, Associate Professor, Aug. 1990-June 1999, Tenured
University of Florida, Assistant Professor, Jan. 1985-Aug. 1990, Tenure-accruing
Research Assistant, Purdue University, Horticulture Department, Master’s and Doctorate Research, 1978-1984

Fields of Interest and Expertise:
Extension programs and research to encourage environmental protection and resource efficiency by Florida consumers and Green Industry:

  1. Development, selection, and evaluation of nursery/landscape plants, with emphasis placed on potential invasivity of ornamental landscape plants.
  2. Research and Extension to foster development and adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices in the nursery and landscape industries with a focus on plant-pest-environment interactions.

Faculty Position Description:
As an Extension Specialist in Environmental Horticulture, I interact with residents, nursery/landscape professionals, and county and State Extension faculty to inform and educate them about aspects of environmental horticulture pertaining to landscapes and nurseries. Specific responsibilities include demonstration research and extension educational activities regarding nursery/landscape crops and production, water use efficiency, plant/soil water relations, water quality, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and pest/plant interactions. The position is budgeted 80% extension and 20% research.


Linda B. Landrum, M.A.

Multi County Agent IV
NFREC – Suwannee Valley, Live Oak, FL

B.S, M.A., University of Florida

Linda joined Extension in 1975 as the Urban Horticulturist for Volusia County. The following year she became a county Extension agent with responsibilities in urban and commercial horticulture. Primary areas of specialization include subtropical and tropical landscape plants, perennials, alternative crops, cut flowers and cut foliages for the floral trade.

In 2005, Linda moved from Volusia County to assume the position of Multi County Agent at the NFREC-Suwannee Valley where she is focusing her educational programming in the area of marketing, alternative crops and community resource development particularly in the area of small farms. Linda has written many articles for local and region newspapers and magazines, hosted numerous call-in television and radio shows, developed slide shows and PowerPoints for statewide use and supervised the Master Gardening Program for 8 years. She has been active in local Farm Bureau, FNGLA and Florida Fern Growers Association as well as in the Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents and Epsilon Sigma Phi Extension Fraternity. She was a founding member and longtime supporter of the Botanical Gardens of Volusia, co-chair of the first Environmental Horticulture Statewide Planning Meeting and served as the Southern Region Director for the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Some of Linda’s university service includes co-leader of State Major Program 119, longtime member of the statewide 4-H Horticultural Advisory Committee and State Major Program 712 and co-chair of the Diagnostics Action Team. Since 1995, Linda has secured over $500,000 to support her extension programming through cash donations, grants, in-kind services and volunteer hours.


Edwin R. Duke, Ph.D.

Ornamental Horticulture Program
Florida A&M University
306 Perry-Paige South
Tallahassee, FL 32307
Phone: (850) 599-3260
Fax: (850) 412-7536

Ph.D., University of Florida, Department of Fruit Crops. 1985-1991. Major: Horticultural Science.
M.S. University of Florida, Department of Ornamental Horticulture. 1982-1985. Major: Horticultural Science.
B.S.A. University of Georgia, Department of Horticulture. 1980-1982. Major: Horticultural Science.
A.S. Macon Junior College, Macon, GA. 1978-1980. Major: Agriculture.

Professional Experience:
Associate Professor, Florida Agrucultural & Mechanical University, Division of Agricultural Sciences, Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design and Management Programs. 2006-Present.
Assistant Professor, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, Division of Agricultural Sciences, Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design and Management Programs. 1999-2006.
Assistant Professor, University Florida, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Environmental Horticulture Department. 1993-1999.
Post-doctoral Research Associate. USDA/ARS Northern Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), Peoria, IL. 1991-1993.


Alejandro Bolques

Assistant Professor and Extension Agent
Gadsden County Extension
2140 West Jefferson Street
Quincy, FL 32351

Phone: (850) 872-7255
Fax: (850) 875-7257
Mobile: (850) 509-6538

M.S. Agricultural Sciences. Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL. April 1994.
B.S. Ornamental Horticulture. Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL. December 1991.

Current Appointment:

County Extension Agent. FAMU, Gadsden County Extension, Quincy, Fla.
Responsibilities: Responsible for leadership of a comprehensive Extension program including ornamental horticulture producers, small farm enterprises, professional service providers, nursery personnel, homeowners and to provide leadership in the development and delivery of a Master Gardeners Program in the county.


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  • Welcome!

    By promoting sustainable nursery production practices, we aim to foster the development of new specialty sustainable-production nurseries creating a new market niche for small and mid-size farms, as well as promoting productivity and sustainability for limited resource farms.

  • Contact Us

    For more information about sustainable nursery production practices or this website, contact:

  • Matthew Chappell
    University of Georgia
    Horticulture Dept.
    (706) 542-9044

    Gary Knox
    University of Florida/IFAS
    Environmental Horticulture Dept.
    (850) 875-7162

  • Any mention of product brands and/or production facilities in the Sustainable Nursery Practices video series are for educational purposes only. These products or companies are not directly nor indirectly endorsed or recommended by the University of Florida / IFAS or the University of Georgia.