Don Knezick - The Challenges and Opportunities of Developing a Native Plant Nursery

MHG Meetings

Sponsored By: Metro Hort Group

Pinelands Nursery was established in 1983, well before there was a significant demand for native plants. Initially we supplied plants for projects within the Pinelands National Reserve but much greater opportunities arose with the passing of the Clean Water Act. Government regulations, while often onerous even to us, have become the lifeblood of our company. At the present time there are two major markets for native species: ornamental landscaping and ecological restoration, which includes projects such as wetland mitigation, shoreline restoration, and wildflower meadows. Where aesthetics are a key concern in ornamental landscaping, provenance and genetic diversity are of paramount importance in ecological restoration. This presentation will detail the biological, economic, and political challenges of operating a successful native plant nursery.

Don Knezick is the founder and President of Pinelands Nursery, one of the largest growers of exclusively native plants in the country. Prior to starting the nursery he was a Tree Improvement Forester for the US Forest Service and an adjunct professor at Rutgers University. With over 35 years of experience, Don has consulted on numerous restoration projects and has supplied millions of plants. He is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, a Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional, and currently serves as a Supervisor on the Burlington County Soil Conservation District.