Nursery Design

Nursery Design and Build

Designing and building a new seedling production nursery, or restructuring an existing site, is a very costly process and future profits are tied to the efficiency of the end result. Transplant Systems is very serious about taking all aspects into consideration in order produce the most practical nursery design possible:

  • Land size
  • Terrain
  • Expected production capacity
  • Type of production
  • Availability of local materials
  • Local planning laws
  • Budget

The Design Process

Several design options might be presented to the client. Concept designs show the expected plant movement through the nursery and ensures the final nursery is as efficient as possible. In Transplant Systems’ experience, effective and quality production starts with choosing the right tray for the job! Selection of the right tray is based on; species to be grown, propagation method, finished plant size, quality requirements, type and availability of parent propagation material (e.g. seed, cuttings), number and length of planting seasons, local environmental conditions, required annual production quantity, estimated number of crops that can be produced annually, and estimated expected plant losses during production.

Based on the above assumptions the tray selection process can be started – either with the selection of an existing tray or the design of a new one. Transplant Systems manufactures a range of crop specific long-life trays suited to most production tasks.

Area Requirements

The right balance of greenhouse space – to shade house space – to outside space needs to be calculated. Based on the tray selected and expected growing times, our team calculates the amount of each type of growing area required: greenhouse /shade house /outside facilities.

Tray Handling

A well planned tray handling system makes all the difference! Transplant Systems manufacture an adaptable portable post and rail benching system that has been specially designed for quick and easy erection. It is ideally suited to nurseries who require a new production area quickly or for new nurseries that have been built for short term production. For longer term or permanent facilities, Transplant Systems supplies a permanently fixed post and rail system that is designed and tailored to your requirements. Permanent tray benching or another approach may be taken for smaller production facilities.

Choosing the Right Equipment

There are many opportunities where automated machinery will improve throughput, and frequently the quality of the product. Transplant Systems have extensive experience in automating all types of horticultural processes from seeding lines to automatic transplanting and potting machines. The ultimate selection of production machinery and equipment for your nursery is based on locally available labour, potting media, nursery management potential, power and maintenance possibilities.


Automation is often applied to nursery processes to reduce operating costs but may also may benefit in the following ways:

  • Speed – machinery is generally far faster than manual activities. Automation is often required where time is limited.
  • Accuracy – a well-tuned machine does the same thing precisely, every time
  • Timing – some tending operations need to be carried out during off peak times.
  • Control – the control of environmental conditions is necessary for optimising plant growth

Common activities most often automated in a nursery are; tray de-stacking to feed to filler/seeder, tray filling and seeding, potting media processing, irrigation and irrigation scheduling, seedling removal for packing, tray washing and stacking, nursery logistics. fertilising/feeding.

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    Nursery Design