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Nursery Capital of the World

Middle Tennessee is often called the Nursery Capital of the world. Jerry Blankenship, President of the Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association, explains why.

Jerry Blankenship: This area has several geographical advantages that makes it an excellent location for growing trees and shrubs. Tennessee is kind of in a transition zone. We can grow plants that will do well to the South and we can grow plants that will do well in the north. Our clay soil makes it really easy to put a good high quality root ball on the plant and enables us to ship that plant either north or south.

Jerry also comments on some new developments that will make trees and shrubs attractive to gardeners year round.

Jerry: We're seeing more emphasis on developing plants that are for four-season interest. You know, looking for good bark characteristics, fruit, flower, foliage, everything that makes a plant interesting to a consumer. We're seeing that more and more in our industry versus years ago when plants were developed for solely for bloom or a certain foliage color. Now we're trying to find plants that are applicable to all seasons.

Should you be plant this fall for the future?

Jerry: The fall is a great time to plant, the main reason is that the tree has time to acclimate to your weather. So, for example, if a Bradford pear planted up North originated from the South then it has time to acclimate to the colder climate and will bloom for you on time. Also, the tree has time to establish itself, its roots system is going to be growing all winter and you're still going to have to water the plant, but you may not have to water it near as much. As soon as we start seeing the fall color come on the red maples and sugar maples then we know it's time to start digging.