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Horticulture Pathway

The business of growing flowers, greenery, trees, and vegetables and of planting them in the landscape is commonly called the green industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) focuses on crop yields when it measures the green industry. It looks at horticulture — the growing of garden plants, vegetables, cut flowers, and potted flowering plants and of seedlings, cuttings and other propagative floriculture materials. The USDA also assesses the production of nursery crops, such as conifers, deciduous trees, ornamentals, Christmas trees, and fruit and nut plants.

Workers in the green industry grow all of these plants. Installing and maintaining plants are also part of the green industry. Workers in this segment of the industry may manage the turf on sports fields and golf courses or design and install landscapes in parks, schools, commercial sites, and individual yards. Workplaces for people with green thumbs run the gamut from small landscaping operations to huge garden centers. Sod farms, greenhouses, and nurseries hire people to produce the greenery needed for landscaping work. Landscaping maintenance firms employ people to mow grass, maintain equipment, spray for insects and prune trees. And nearly all institutions, such as hospitals, universities, golf courses — even shopping malls — need people to manage their landscapes and plants.

Courses Offered within the Pathway

Sample Occupations

  • Agricultural Educator
  • Landscape Designer
  • Education and Extension Specialist
  • Landscape Architect
  • Floral Designer
  • Nursery Technician
  • Garden Center Manager
  • Plant Pathologist
  • Golf Course Superintendent
  • Turf Farmer
  • Green House Manager
  • Tree Surgeon

Employment Outlook

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, the occupations related to plants and landscaping will gain thousands of jobs between 2002 and 2012. Over this decade, employment for both landscape architects and landscape and greenhouse workers is expected to increase by about 22 percent. That ’s faster than the average employment growth projected for all occupations. BLS does not make projections specifically for landscape contractors, nursery supervisors, or turf grass managers. Instead, these types of jobs are counted among those of first-line supervisors or managers of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers. Employment in this occupational group also is expected to increase by about 22 percent.

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