Nursery Worker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Works in nursery facilities or at a customer location to plant, cultivate, harvest, and transplant trees, shrubs, or plants.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Plant Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Plants, sprays, weeds, fertilizes, and waters plants, shrubs, and trees, using hand tools and gardening tools.
  • Harvests plants, and transplants or pots and labels them.
  • Feels plants' leaves and notes their coloring to detect the presence of insects or disease.
  • Operates tractors and other machinery and equipment to fertilize, cultivate, harvest, and spray fields and plants.
  • Inspects plants and bud ties to assess quality.
  • Digs, cuts, and transplants seedlings, cuttings, trees, and shrubs.
  • Moves containerized shrubs, plants, and trees, using wheelbarrows or tractors.
  • Cleans work areas, and maintains grounds and landscaping.
  • Hauls and spreads topsoil, fertilizer, peat moss, and other materials to condition soil, using wheelbarrows or carts and shovels.
  • Maintains and repairs irrigation and climate control systems.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 50 lbs., sometimes up to 100 lbs. You will need a lot of strength at this level.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Using muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Seasonal work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Landscape Foreman -- Responsible for calculating costs, hiring and evaluating employees, scheduling jobs, overseeing and maintaining equipment, and for overseeing crews who work in grounds maintenance and landscape design or contracting.
  • Bulb Planter --