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Nursery growers raise and sell plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees. Some plants are grown from seed in the nursery, outside in beds, or inside in greenhouses. Nursery growers prepare beds for planting and tend to plants throughout their growth, transplanting them into containers for sale, pruning them, watering and fertilizing them, and keeping them pest-free. They also propagate new plants from existing plants, using cuttings, grafting, and other methods.

Many nursery growers are nursery operators who own their own small businesses. They are involved in all operations, including growing plants, buying wholesale trees and bushes, supervising workers, and selling plants to customers. They often employ part-time or full-time nursery workers to help care for plants, advise customers, and ring up sales during the busy spring and summer seasons. Other nursery growers work for large wholesale nurseries that supply plants to smaller retail nurseries, garden centers, and large landscaping companies. They are involved in all aspects of growing and tending to plants. Wholesale nursery growers have little contact with retail customers, but they must earn the respect of wholesale buyers, who are the lifeblood of their business.

Nursery growers work year-round. In warm regions, like the South and West (particularly California), the growing season lasts throughout the year. In cooler areas, like the Northeast, where the growing season is short, much of the work of growing and selling plants occurs in spring, summer, and fall, and slows down until it's time to sell Christmas trees and wreaths. But even nursery growers in cool climates work in winter, planning for the upcoming spring and summer growing seasons, planting seedlings, and repairing equipment.

Working as a nursery grower is fun, but it is also physically demanding. Some plants must be grown in greenhouses, which are usually very hot and humid. Most work is done outdoors in all kinds of weather, starting in the early morning with watering, weeding, and fertilizing. Throughout the day, there's a lot of bending, digging, stretching, and lifting of plant containers and equipment. Nursery growers and workers may have to load and unload shipments of trees and shrubs, transport heavy bags of potting soil and manure, carry large plantings to customers' cars, and make deliveries to customers' homes.

Nursery growers must know all about plants and how they grow so they can choose the best plants to sell in their regions, produce healthy specimens, and advise customers on plant selection and care. They have to know how to use and maintain greenhouses as well as basic gardening tools like rakes, shovels, and hoes.

Because retail nursery growers and workers have so much contact with the public, they must have good communications skills. If you're planning to open your own nursery, you also have to know how to price plantings, keep books, keep track of inventory, and manage nursery workers.

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