Urban landscapes and producers of ornamental horticulture products in Georgia are vital to the state’s economy. It is estimated that ornamental horticulture producers and commercial landscape industries bring in about $6 million annually to the state and employees over 70,000 people. This industry touches all sectors of the Georgia economy and pollution prevention is a vital issue for those in the industry and the general public who enjoy the “fruits”of the industries work.
The Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department is partnering with the Sustainability Division to work with ornamental horticulture producers, commercial landscape enterprises and residential and commercial landowners to provide technical assistance, education and applied research programs for pollution prevention.
This effort is housed at the Griffin Campus where there are outstanding UGA faculty working with landscape industries, ornamental horticulture producers and homeowners to develop better management practices that will decrease non-point source pollution problems from landscapes and ornamental horticulture producers. The program coordinator is Dr. Sheryl Wells.
The goal of the Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Pollution Prevention Program is to have all of the industries and consumers involved to be aware of how landscape practices, design and maintenance can prevent pollution and enhance the ecological health and quality of life in man-made landscapes and to put best management practices into their common day-to-day landscape activities. This includes conserving water, maintaining water quality, preventing unnecessary air pollution, reducing waste that goes to landfills and avoid excessive use of toxic chemicals in landscapes.
For on-site pollution prevention assistance, the coordinator is a faculty member from engineering. The coordinator works with faculty from other disciplines such as horticulture, turfgrass, entomology, weed science, soil science and plant pathology to provide the information and guidance that any operation needs to prevent pollution and choose more economic practices. The county agents and their master gardener volunteers are local resources that can address many concerns and provide on-site pollution prevention assistance to small operators and homeowners. Another valuable part of the program is demonstrations and applied research that are on-going at UGA gardens around the state.