East Texas plant industry blooming - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texas plant industry blooming

Brothers Caleb and Micah Jones work together in the propagation house as spring planting season begins.  Lynn Jones, part owner of Dover Plant Farm in Alto, walks thru one of seven greenhouses the family operates. (Source: KTRE Staff) Brothers Caleb and Micah Jones work together in the propagation house as spring planting season begins. Lynn Jones, part owner of Dover Plant Farm in Alto, walks thru one of seven greenhouses the family operates. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Lynn Jones, part owner of Dover Plant Farm in Alto, walks through one of seven greenhouses the family operates. (Source: KTRE Staff) Lynn Jones, part owner of Dover Plant Farm in Alto, walks through one of seven greenhouses the family operates. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Horticulture is a multi-billion dollar industry in Texas. (Source: KTRE Staff) Horticulture is a multi-billion dollar industry in Texas. (Source: KTRE Staff)
ALTO, TX (KTRE) -

The sunny weekend forecast will encourage many East Texans to be in their yards. 

The deep freeze of 2017 killed or damaged a lot of vegetation. That loss means big business for area plant nurseries.

A sunny Good Friday starts up a busy retail season for plant nurseries, including Dover Farms located south of alto. 

 "I think we're all hands on deck,” said Lynn Jones, Dove Farms partner

Lynn Jones finds herself helping customers replace vegetation that didn't survive the region's unusually cold winter. 

“I lost my cactus that blooms,” said Roxanne Denby, a customer. “I've had it like for at least 30 years."

The Texas horticulture business is blooming. The green industry's economic impact in Texas exceeds $15 billion according to Texas AgriLife.
The nursery industry can be very competitive because there are so many nurseries in East Texas and Deep East Texas, but it's also a very close-knit group.

Family owned wholesale and retail nurseries trade business and information to help the industry continue to grow.

"We call this the Pepper House,” Lynn Jones said. “We got tomatoes and peppers in here."

Thousands of plants will fulfill custom orders placed by commercial farmers to backyard gardeners. 

Propagation keeps Caleb Jones, a Dover plant helper, busy planting summer seed.

"Crookneck early summer squash,” Caleb Jones said.

And his brother Micah Jones puts in a day’s work transplanting thousands of seedlings into trays to sell in a couple of weeks.

"Two thousand to three thousand, so about a hundred trays every day,” said Micah Jones.

The Jones are cultivating a business for their sons.

“It needs to be something that's respected, and I see it as a very valid career option,” Lynn Jones said.

"I think I want this one,” a customer said.

"OK. That's beautiful,” Jones replied.

The gardening season has just begun. On April 7th, that's a week from Saturday, SFA Gardens will host its annual Garden Gala Day plant sale and Earth Day celebration. 

Hard-to-find, Texas-tough plants are the featured plants. The event will be held at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center at 2900 Raguet Street in Nacogdoches.

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