Nursery Manager: Job Description, Duties, Salary and Outlook

Sep 20, 2019

Nursery managers need business and horticultural knowledge to make certain everything runs efficiently in a plant-growing operation. Job growth in this field is expected to experience a decline through 2028. The salary for the broader category of farmers, ranchers, and all other agricultural managers is approximately $68,000.

Essential Information

Nursery managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of a nursery, including growing plants for sale, display, or research, and hiring and training of workers. The responsibilities of a nursery manager normally depend on the size of the nursery. Managers at large-scale nurseries might only be involved in business aspects, such as employee relations and financial considerations, while managers of smaller nurseries could deal with all facets of the nursery, including plant care and customer service. Education in horticulture, agriculture, or botany could aid in qualifying individuals for management positions in nurseries and greenhouses.

Required Education No formal education required, but degree programs in horticulture, agriculture, or botany are available
Other Requirements On-the-job training
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -1% for all farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $67,950 for all farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Nursery Manager Job Duties

Nursery managers determine optimal growing conditions for each plant. They take into account the sun each area receives, slopes in the landscape, soil type, drainage, and other factors that affect plant growth. They decide which plants to grow and how many of each plant are necessary for business operations. Managers make calculations based on projected sales or current orders. They might create marketing plans, set budgets, order supplies, and ensure proper working conditions of equipment.

Decisions about when to plant, fertilize, harvest, and sell could be the responsibility of nursery managers. Because weather conditions greatly affect the success of plant growth, nursery managers carefully monitor weather patterns and take proper precautions to ensure the plants are not distressed by unfavorable weather conditions. They examine plants for diseases, insects, wildlife damage, and weeds to protect the health of the garden.

Nursery managers recruit, hire, train, oversee, and terminate employees of a nursery. They provide new employees with proper gardening equipment and teach correct techniques and procedures for plant care. The nursery manager delegates job duties and ensures that employees do their jobs properly. They may schedule work hours and handle payroll. They are also responsible for establishing a safe working environment by creating and implementing safety policies that adhere to legal standards.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The BLS reported that nursery managers, a subcategory of agricultural management, would experience a decline in employment opportunities from 2018-2028. The expected lack of employment growth for nursery laborers was anticipated to directly affect the need for management. Horticulture and organic farming were anticipated to be among the fastest-growing agricultural niches, offering some of the best chances for work in the industry. However, consolidation of agricultural businesses and improved technology could dampen the demand for workers and managers in larger nurseries and greenhouses.

In May 2018, the BLS reported that workers in the 90th percentile or higher earned $136,940 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $35,440 or less per year.

The nursery manager supervises plant growth, propagation, and maintenance. They also perform administrative duties such as handling finance and sales, and working with the staff. An excellent understanding of horticulture or botany is necessary, which can be achieved through experience or possibly a degree program.

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