The nursery stock and ornamental sector produces a wide range of plant material; bedding, hardy shrubs, herbaceous perennials, trees and pot plants. The most up to date technologies and equipment are used to grow high quality products to meet market demand, produced in increasingly shorter timescales. The farm gate value of the sector is estimated to be worth in excess of €40 million per annum. There is scope for import substitution and acknowledging Brexit to increase supply to the substantial market in UK. Between the years 2007 and 2014 there had been much rationalisation of the market, with the top 5 producers in the sector making up 40% of the market. The main outlets for this sector are garden centres, DIY stores and there is increasing demand from the landscaping sector. Online retail sales are in their infancy but show annual increases.
Labour and distribution remain key costs in production systems, making efficient plant handling critical to profitable production. The use of integrated pest management (IPM) and biological control agents in protected growing environments is now well established. Due to withdrawal of plant protection products and the sustainable use directive growers continue to be challenged to keep weed, pest and disease control costs low while producing a competitive, quality product.
For many years, much of the fresh and dried flowers, house plants and cut foliage for use in the industry were imported.However,some import substitution is now taking place, with protected crop growers going back into the production of house plants and cut flowers. High quality, outdoor-grown cut flowers are now being produced in increasing quantities for availability during the summer months. This is a welcome trend. We have thriving cut foliage industry, which is supplying the Irish floristry sector, as well as exporting produce.
Propagation expert, Jim Kelly, shares his knowledge of the fundamentals of plant propagation. Get the basics right and the rest will follow, leading to successful propagation.
- New Leaves - Research Project is investigating novel plant material use and as well as gathering information on on pests and disease for cut foliage in Ireland
- Euro-Trials is a plant trials programme comparing established and new varieites of a range of woody plants. The trials are run across 7 European counties.
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