Providing practical information to help you protect your farm from biosecurity risks

Nursery & garden product management


Nursery & garden | Nursery & garden best management practice | Nursery & garden pests | Nursery & garden product management


Growing media, propagating material and other production inputs

Pests and contamination can be easily brought onto your property with production nursery inputs (including growing media, plant containers and fertiliser) and plant material.

Be aware that you cannot visually assess the true health of your propagation material, as viruses, viroids, phytoplasmas and other pests may not display symptoms. Ensure propagation material is ‘clean’ (ie tested with no pest detections) and where possible, use only certified production nursery inputs.

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To minimise the risk:

• Purchase plant material only from trusted sources (i.e. NIASA accredited or BioSecure HACCP certified businesses) that will provide you with reliable records of the material’s source, and the treatment and testing history.

• Check your propagation material and production nursery inputs thoroughly.

• Maintain a register of all production nursery inputs entering your property, including its source (with contact details), specific planting or storage locations, numbers of plants or other products, and the date of use.

• Request information on the source of material and testing timetable.

• Maintain and monitor any motherstock plants to the same standards as production areas.

• Follow the procedures outlined in the BioSecure HACCP manual.

Potting and propagating facilities

Good hygiene practices undertaken during potting and propagation will minimise the chance of pest spread. The facilities and areas where these practices are undertaken should be separated from production areas.

Benches and tools used for propagation should be regularly washed and disinfected, preferably between each batch of media or plant material. Potting containers should be clean and disinfected before use.

All spilt material and plant waste should be collected and discarded regularly.

Greenhouse facilities

Greenhouse, glasshouse and shade house facilities are commonly used in the production of seedlings and cuttings. The use of these facilities presents specific biosecurity threats, particularly due to the ideal breeding environment for many pests, close plantings, physical contact between plants and workers, and the green waste generated.

If you have greenhouse or glasshouse facilities, the following measures should be implemented:

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• Regularly monitor and control pests to ensure isolated populations do not spread.

• Pest monitoring should include the entire greenhouse structure, including gutters and covers.

• More than one pesticide should be used to limit the potential for the development of resistant insects.

• All waste material should be regularly removed and disposed of appropriately.

• Maintain weed-free or non-host vegetative barriers around the facilities.

• Always visit or work in houses with clean or young plants before entering contaminated, infested or older plants.

Water management

The management of water quality, including pest infestation levels, is important for the maintenance of healthy plants. If water sources become contaminated they can spread pests throughout production areas.

To minimise the risk:

• Regularly test water storages and monitor surrounding vegetation for the presence of pests.

• Keep areas around water storages free of plant waste and other potential sources of infestation.

• Production nursery area run-off should not enter irrigation sources without prior catchment and treatment.

Production nursery waste

Maintaining good production nursery hygiene can minimise cross-contamination and breeding environments for pests. This should be achieved in combination with an effective pest monitoring/management program. A ‘spray diary’ record should accompany each consignment of plant material.

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NGIA has developed a Best Practice Manual CD for Pesticide Application in the Nursery and Garden Industry. This CD outlines measures for effective and safe application of pesticides as part of an Integrated Pest Management program for production nurseries and contains a pesticide management diary to record pesticide application events.

All plant waste and spilled growing media should be collected and removed from production areas. Waste should be disposed of away from production facilities/areas and water sources.

Appropriate disposal mechanisms for plant waste include hot composting or delivery to a dedicated waste management facility.