Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Research procedure
 Nursery sales

Group Title: Agricultural economics mimeo report - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ; no. 62-8
Title: The Pinellas County nursery industry
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074601/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Pinellas County nursery industry
Physical Description: 15 p. ; .. cm.
Language: English
Creator: Smith, Cecil N.
Publisher: Dept. of Agricultural Economics, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1962.
General Note: Agricultural economics mimeo report - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ; no. 62-8
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Bibliographic ID: UF00074601
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 67642518

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
        Page 1
    Research procedure
        Page 2 (MULTIPLE)
        Page 3
    Nursery sales
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
Full Text

Agricultural Economics Mimeo. Report 62-8
February, 1962

The Pinellas County

by Cecil N. Smith
Associate Agricultural Economist




Introduction . .. . .. . 1

Industry Characteristics ........ ......... 2

Research Procedure ........ . 2

Nursery Sales. . . . .. .. .

Product groups. .. . . .. 5
Nursery stock sales ... ............. 7
Landscape sales . . . . 8
Wholesale sales . . .. 10

Containers . .. . 11

Employment . . 12

Investment . . . . 13

Summary. . . . 14

The Pinellas County Nursery Industry

by Cecil N. Smith
Associate Agricultural Economist


An economic study of the nursery industry in Pinellas County was

carried out as the initial phase of a study concerned with marketing

practices of the nursery industry in Florida. Data on market outlets,

total sales, purchases of other nursery stock, amount of nursery stock

sold in containers, pricing policies and other factors were obtained

from a sample of Pinellas County nurserymen. Experience gained in the

conduct of the Pinellas County study has been used in planning and

conducting a similar state-wide study.

Pinellas County was selected as the pilot area because nurseries

of many different types are located there. Both subtropical stock and

hardier nursery products are grown in this county. It is bounded on

two sides by water--Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico--and on another

by the Tampa metropolitan area. Many producers and sellers of nursery

stock are located within the adjacent environs of Tampa and Hillsborough

County. It was expected that much of the nursery stock produced in

Pinellas County would be sold there; the results of the study have borne

out this hypothesis.

1Appreciation is expressed to nurserymen and others who supplied
data and otherwise contributed to the completion of this study. The
research on which this report is based was supported in part by Hatch
Act (Title II) funds.

2In this study, as in the state-wide study, primary emphasis is
given ornamental nursery products.

- 2-

Industry Characteristics

The nursery industry is a complex segment of agriculture. Individ-

ual growers produce a wide variety of products and sell them through

many different channels of distribution. Some products are propagated,

grown to marketable size and then sold to consumers. In other instances,

nursery plants are propagated by nursery operators and sold to other

nurserymen as "liners" for further growing on. Some landscape nursery-

men buy more mature stock to fill their sales and marketing requirements.

Certain portions of all classes of nursery stock may be resold immedi-

ately and some grown on for later sale.

The complexity of the nursery business makes it difficult to

acquire data for making an analysis of production and marketing practices.

Very few nurserymen use any standard system of accounts. Any one or a

group of sales likely includes products of many different types and

classifications. Data on prices and quantities of specific products or

types of products which go to the same type of outlet are hard to acquire.

Thus, in an economic survey, it is difficult to obtain information

classified by specific commodities going to various outlets.

Research Procedure

Names of all nursery operators in Pinellas County were obtained
from the State Plant Board of Florida in the spring of 1960. A complete

listing was made of all operators classified as producers of ornamental

Now Division of Plant Industry, Florida State Department of

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or other nursery stock. Firms which handled but did not produce nursery

stock were eliminated from the list.

The 367 growers of nursery stock in Pinellas County were then

classified into 4 size groups (Table 1). The 27 nurserymen with one or

more acres operated almost 200 of the 250 acres reported by growers of

nursery stock. A sample was designed in which all growers in the large

(1.0 acre and over) and medium (0.5 to 0.99 acre) classes were inter-

viewed. Random sampling methods were used in selecting respondents in

the small and very small size groups. In the small group (0.1 to 0.49

acre), 15 percent of the growers were selected for interviewing. The

sampling ratio for the very small group (operators with less than 0.1

acre) was 7.5 percent. The 214 very small growers cultivated less than

11 acres in nurseries in the county.

TABLE 1.--Number of Nurserymen by Size Groups and Acreage,
Pinellas County, 1959.

Number Average Size Number
Grower Size Groups of Acreage. (are) in
Growers Sample

Large (1.0 A. and over) 27 199.9 7.40 27
Medium (.50 to .99 A.) 22 16.5 .75 22
Small (.10 to .49 A.) 104 22.9 .22 17
Very small (.01 to .09 A.) 214 10.7 .05 16

Total or Average 367 250.0 .68 82

Information relative to the study objectives was obtained by

personal interviews with 82 nurserymen. A questionnaire was used to

secure data on sales of general classes of nursery stock. The data were


then expanded into estimates of the total sales and other characteristics

of the nursery industry.in Pinellas County. It was assumed that the data

obtained from the nurserymen interviewed were representative for those

not selected in the sample.

The information presented in this report relates to estimates of

the business operations of nurserymen who produced at least a portion of

the stock sold. Data on the sales of foliage plants, technically classi-

fied as flowering plants rather than as nursery products, are included.

However, information on the sales of operators producing only foliage

plants was excluded. Some data were obtained from department stores and

other outlets handling nursery stock, sod and related products associated

with the nursery enterprise, but were not included in this report.

Nursery Sales

Nurserymen in Pinellas County who grew at least a portion of their

plants estimated the total sales of nursery plants and allied products

and services at almost $1,970,000 in 1959 (Table 2). Almost 90 percent

TABLE 2.--Estimated Total Sales of Nurserymen in Pinellas County, 1959.

Type Sales
Grower Size Groups Total Sales
Retail Wholesale


Large 1,443,972 64,105 1,508,077
Medium 227,949 29,989 257,938
Small 72,290 94,338 166,628
Very small 17,586 19,120 36,706

Total 1,761,797 207,552 1,969,349


of these marketing were made at retail to home-owners and other buyers.

Sales at wholesale to other nr,,r:.rmnn. department stores and other

outlets handling nursery stock were considerably more important for

small and very small operators than for large and medium growers.

Total sales of the 5 active nurserymen with 5 acres or more in

nursery stock amounted to $1,028,000. These operators, with 61 percent

of the acreage in nursery stock accounted for 52 percent of all sales

made by Pinellas County nurserymen in 1959. They had 34 percent of

nursery supply marketing and 71 percent of all landscape sales of

nursery stock and allied services and materials. Throughout the

remainder of this report, data on operators with 5 acres or more are

included with those of nurserymen in the large group.

Almost $225,000 of the total sales reported by nurseries consisted
of turf grass, bulbs, bedding and vegetable plants, seed and nursery

supplies such as fertilizer and insecticides. Many of the firms selling

these supplies had landscape nurseries, retail sales yards and garden

supply centers as parts of their business.operations.

Product groups.--Ornamental plants were the most important nursery

item sold by reporting firms in 19595 (Table 3). Nearly 57 percent of

all nursery product sales consisted of ornamental plants. The second

most important item, palms, accounted for almost 16 percent of the

Although considered a nursery product, turf sold by outlets other
than nurserymen was excluded from this study because it was purchased
and sold without being grown on at all. Most turf grass sales in
Pinellas County were handled by i+ln :cdn-3n specialized dealers.

Includes stock purchased and resold as well as stock grown.

- 6-

total. Nearly 14 percent of all sales were made up of shade and flowering

trees. Vines and ground covers amounted to 5 percent of the total.

Remaining product groups, each of which were 3 percent or less of all

nursery product sales, included foliage plants, citrus trees, roses and

potted plants.

TABLE 3.--Estimated Composition of Product Group Sales by Pinellas County
Nurserymen, 1959.


Nursery Products
Ornamental plants 637,344
Palms 178,056
Shade and flowering trees 114,387
Vines and ground covers 61,166
Foliage plants 40,052
Citrus trees 31,780
Roses 24,815
Potted plants 760

Subtotal 1,088,360

Miscellaneous Products
& Services
Landscaping materials and
services 239,247
Supplies (fertilizer,etc.) 139,880
Turf grass 21,900
Bedding and vegetable
plants 13,100
Bulbs 4,590
Seed 1,000

Subtotal 419,717






















aExclusive of plants.

GRAND TOTAL 1,508,077 257,938 166,628 36,706 1,969,349

- 7 -

Nursery stock sales.--Sales of nursery products amounted to

$1,745,0006 in 1959. Excluded from these total sales data were non-

nursery items such as fertilizer and insecticides. Sales of nursery

stock purchased and resold are included in the figure; it is estimated

that Pinellas County nurserymen spent some $228,000 in 1959 for purchases

of nursery stock. Since most nurserymen reported a doubling of the cost

price when stock purchased was resold, the sale price of the purchased

stock was probably about $456,000. It is estimated that the sales of

nursery stock through various outlets by nurserymen who produced the

stock sold amounted to $1,289,000 in 1959.

The $1,289,000 estimated sales value for produced nursery stock is

considerably higher than the $944,881 value reported for this county by

the Regular Census of Agriculture in 1959. Furthermore, there is reason

to believe that the total value of sales of nursery products produced

and sold in Pinellas County is probably higher than the $1,289,000

estimate made in the study. Observations indicated that the majority

of stock purchased was resold and thus the estimates were made on this

basis. Nevertheless, a small proportion of the stock purchased consisted

of liners used for growing on.

The census enumeration reported 97 farms in Pinellas County as

having produced and sold nursery products in 1959. In the previous

census, that of 1954, sales of $569,695 were reported by 73 nurserymen.

Most nursery stock for resale was purchased by growers in the two

larger size classifications and sold mostly at sales yards or in land-

scaping operations. Sources of stock included nurseries in South,

This includes an estimated $276,142 in landscaping materials and
services. Landscape sales are treated in more detail later.

Central and North Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and other areas. Information

to delineate sales of liners from finished stock was not obtained.

Landscape'sales.--The most important outlet for nursery products in

Pinellas County consisted of sales through landscaping operations. More

than $1,100,000 in cash receipts were generated by landscaping sales

(Tables 4 and 5). Of this amount, it is estimated that the value of

plants amounted to more than $826,000. The remaining $276,000 consisted

of surcharges made for materials, designing and other services.

TABLE 4.--Estimated Value of All Retail Sales Through Various Outlets by
Pinellas County Nurserymen, 1959.

Grower Size Groups
Type Sales Very Total
ales Large Medium Small erma Total


Direct sales 486,983 90,035 62,623 17,586 657,227

Landscape sales 956,989 137,914 9,667 ---- 1,104,570

Total 1,443,972 227,949 72,290 17,586 1,761,797

No guides are available for differentiating between sales of plants

through landscaping and landscaping services and materials. The treatment

utilized was arrived at arbitrarily; the total value of landscape sales

reported was adjusted to break it down into (1) plant and (2) service and

other material categories. Since a mark-up of a third, on the average,

was reported by landscape nurseries in Pinellas County, an adjustment was

made to arrive at sales-value estimates for plants and for the other

materials and services involved in landscaping.

- 9 -

TABLE 5.--Estimated Sales of Nurserymen in Pinellas County, 1959, by
Product Groups.

Grower Size Groups
.... All
Type Sales Al .'
Large medium Small Very Groups
Large Medium Small

Nursery products 306,513 49,135 59,957 17,453 433,058
Garden supplies, etc. 180,470 40,900 2,666 133 224,169
Landscaping 956,989 137,914 9,667 ---- 1,104,570

Total Retail. 1,443,972 227,949 72,290 17,586 1,761,797

Nursery stock 64,105 29,989 94,338 19,120 207,552

Total Wholesale 64,105 29,989 94,338 19,120 207,552

ALL SALES 1,508,077 257,938 166,628 36,706 1,969,349

aIncludes nursery products plus landscaping services and materials.

Landscape operations accounted for 63 percent of all retail sales.

Of the total sales made by nurserymen, 56 percent were related to


Of the total sales, 11 percent consisted of supplies other than

those utilized in landscaping and plant materials other than nursery

items. The remaining 33 percent consisted of nursery stock sold

directly to consumers or at wholesale to other firms for resale.

Landscaping jobs varied to some extent with the size of nursery

operations involved. Jobs done by larger nurseries generally ranged

from $150 to $300. Small operators reported that their landscaping

jobs were in the order of $25 to $40 per job. The amount of competition

- 10 -

was listed as one of the main factors considered in prices quoted on

landscaping operations. Many nurserymen charged the retail price for

the plants and added a surcharge averaging 33 percent for labor,

materials and other costs. In some cases no charges were made for labor

and materials when the value of plants exceeded an established minimum.

A cut-back in home building in the period just before the interviews

were conducted resulted in a reduction in the demand for nursery products.

A number of nurserymen expressed their feeling that inferior land-

scaping done by a few firms gave a black mark to the entire nursery and

landscaping industry. Some nurserymen expressed the opinion that the

standards set by various lending agencies needed tightening to require

that plants be of a given quality as well as a specified height.

Although many tall spindly plants used in landscaping met height specifi-

cations, they were otherwise of poor quality. The result was often a

dissatisfied home-builder or home-owner. Some growers expressed the

feeling that many builders are not interested in quality landscape work.

Wholesale sales.--Although wholesale sales by Pinellas County

nurserymen amounted to slightly over 11 percent of all marketing, the

proportion of sales at wholesale for nurserymen in the small and very

small groups was more than half. Comparable figures for nurserymen in

the medium and large groups were 12 and 4 percent, respectively. This

would indicate that small nurserymen sold their products primarily to

other nurserymen or to department stores and other local outlets handling

nursery products. Many of these organizations had buyers who regularly

visited small nurserymen throughout certain sectors of Pinellas County.

It appeared that sales to an outlet of this type often constituted the

- 11 -

only market outlet for many of these growers. Actually, some growers

had apparently entered the nursery business as a hobby in order to keep

themselves occupied, and frequently they were willing to sell their

stock at any price.

Some larger nurserymen complained of price-cutting and other

alleged detrimental characteristics of small growers. Although they

numbered 58 percent of all nurserymen, operators in the very small

group accounted for only 2 percent of total nursery sales in Pinellas

County in 1959. Growers in the small size group had some 10 percent of

all sales. Thus it may be noted that growers with less than one-half

acre each in their nurseries had approximately 12 percent of all nursery

product sales.


Most nursery products in Pinellas County are grown and sold in

containers. This is true whether sold directly to consumers, wholesaled

to other nurserymen, other buyers or used for landscaping. Some 75

percent of all sales of nursery products were reported as sold in con-

tainers (Table 6). Small and very small growers sold some 90 percent

or more of their entire output of nursery stock in containers. For

medium and large growers, it was 83 and 73 percent, respectively.

Eighty percent or more of the ornamental shrubs, vines, roses and

foliage plants were sold in containers. In fact, 100 percent of all

products reported by very small growers other than ornamental shrubs

were moved in some type of container. A small number of items were sold

"bare root," but most other sales were of "balled and burlap" stock.

- 12 -

Fewer palms and citrus trees were sold in containers than were other


TABLE 6.--Proportion of Various Types of Nursery Stock Sold in Containers
by Growers in Four Size Groups, Pinellas County, 1959.

Grower Size Groups
Item All Growers
Large Medium Small Very


Ornamental shrubs 82 82 94 97 83
Shade trees 64 87 96 100 76
Palms 33 70 70 --- 41
Citrus trees 44 71 80 --- 46
Vines 94 90 95 100 93
Roses 84 90 100 100 86
Foliage Plants 84 88 100 100 84

All Items 72 83 89 98 75


Some 237 persons were employed by Pinellas County nurserymen in 1959

(Table 7). Of these, 214 were employed full time. The full-time equiva-

lent of those hired on a part-time basis was 23 workers. For firms

TABLE 7.--Estimated

Number of Workers Employed by Pinellas
County Nurserymen, 1959.

Size Group Full-time Part-timea Total


Large 194 19 213
Medium 20 3 23
Small --- 1 1
Very small --- -- ---

Total 214 23 237

aFull-time equivalent basis.

- 13 -

employing labor, there was an average of slightly over one person hired

for each acre of land devoted to nursery production.


The nursery industry in Pinellas County represents a total invest-

ment in land, nursery stock, buildings and equipment of more than

$3,000,000 (Table 8). An average total investment per acre of nearly

$12,000 was recorded. Per-acre sales averaged nearly $5,900 and ranged

from $3,400 to $11,000. It would appear that medium growers utilized

their resources more intensively than growers in other size groups.

TABLE 8.--Estimated Total Investment, Investment Per Acre and Sales
Per Acre for Nurserymen in Pinellas County, 1959.

Size Group Total Investment Sales
Investment Per Acre Per Acre


Large 2,286,700 11,439 5,445
Medium 350,000 21,212 11,064
Small 180,000 7,860 7,054
Very small 127,000 11,869 3,418

Total or Average 2,943,700 11,776 5,876

aNursery stock only.

The data reported on investment were somewhat subjective in

nature. Nurserymen, in most instances, estimated the current real

estate value of their land, stock and equipment. Approximately half

of the investment represented land and a fourth consisted of nursery

stock. The remaining fourth was approximately evenly divided between

buildings and equipment.

- 14 -


An economic study was made of the Pinellas County nursery industry

as the pilot phase of a state-wide survey. Information on volume of

sales, type of stock sold, marketing channels and other characteristics

is reported here.

Nearly 80 percent of the 250 acres in nurseries in Pinellas County

were accounted for by growers with operations of an acre or more in

size. These large growers had 76 percent of all sales. Nurseries with

less than 0.1 acre had 2 percent of all sales; those with less than 0.5

acre had 10 percent of all marketing.

Of the $1,970,000 in total sales by nurseries growing some of

their plants, $1,470,000 was from nursery products. Fertilizer, insec-

ticides, turf grass and other non-nursery items had sales of almost

$225,000. Income from landscape services and non-nursery product

materials amounted to $276,000.

Nearly 90 percent of all sales were made at retail. The remainder

were at wholesale to other nurseries, department stores and other

outlets handling nursery stock. Landscaping sales accounted for 56

percent of the entire income received by Pinellas County nurserymen

in 1959.

More than 57 percent of all nursery product sales consisted of

ornamental plants. Palms accounted for 16 percent of the total with

shade and flowering trees making up another 14 percent. The remainder
were accounted for by the following product groups: vines and ground

covers; foliage plants; citrus trees; roses; and potted plants.

- 15 -

Some 75 percent of all nursery products sold were in containers.

Over 80 percent of the ornamental shrubs, vines, roses and foliage

plants were sold in cans. More than 90 percent of the output of small

and very small growers was in containers. Similar percentages for medium

and small growers were 83 and 72, respectively.

Nearly 240 persons were employed in the industry in 1959. This

represents more than one person per acre for those firms which employed

any labor.

The Pinellas nursery industry had an investment of nearly $3,000,000

in land, nursery stock, buildings and equipment. Half the investment

was in land, a fourth in nursery stock and an eighth each in buildings

and equipment.

CNS/eh 7-10-62
Agri. Exp. Sta., Ag. Ec. -- 1,000

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