University of Florida

Thomas H. Yeager


Environmental Horticulture Dept.
University of Florida
2541 Fifield Hall, PO Box 110670
Gainesville FL 32611-0670

Phone: 352-273-4574
Fax: 352-392-3870

Professional Background:


  • Ph.D. Horticulture (Virginia Polytechnic Institute), 1981
  • M.S. Horticulture (Virginia Polytechnic Institute), 1979
  • B.S. Horticulture (Auburn Univ.), 1975

I am a native of Alabama, where I managed a wholesale container nursery before pursuing graduate studies in Virginia. After completing my Ph.D., I assumed research and extension responsibilities at the University of Florida, where a team approach and partnerships have resulted in significant accomplishments. Recent accomplishments include leading the development of a Best Management Practices (BMP) Guide for container nursery crops. Several universities, governmental agencies, and the nursery industry worked cooperatively to write the BMP Guide that was printed by the Southern Nursery Association. By enhancing bmp cooperation and partnerships between governmental agencies and the nursery industry in Florida, Tom facilitated a task force of industry representatives who crafted interim legislation that will provide container nursery plant producers the opportunity to obtain a waiver of liability from contamination of ground water with nitrate nitrogen. The environmental awareness of society necessitates that nursery operators understand and justify the nutrient and water management strategies used in production of container-grown plants.

Research and Extension

The long-term objectives of my research and extension program are to develop fertilization and irrigation regimes for the commercial nursery industry that will minimize nutrient loss to the production environment. This may be achieved by implementing management strategies based on model systems in which plant growth and nutrient loss (efficiency) can be predicted from environmental and physical inputs. The immediate or short-term objectives are to establish uptake parameters and nutrient utilization for plants grown with different fertilization regimes. The scientifically-based information obtained from the research program is disseminated to plant producers through the network of county extension personnel conducting county or regional educational programs in addition to industry association seminars, print and electronic media.

Selected Publications

  • Yeager, T. H. Introduction to workshop: Impact of runoff water quality on future nursery crop production. HortTechnology, 2(1), 1992, 80.
  • Yeager, T. and G. Cashion. Controlled-release fertilizers affect nitrate nitrogen runoff from container plants. HortTechnology 3(2), 1993, 174-177.
  • Yeager, T. H., R. D. Wright, D. Fare, C. Gilliam, J. Johnson, T. Bilderback, and R. Zondag. Six state survey of container nursery nitrate nitrogen runoff. J. Environ. Hort. 11(4), 1993, 206-208.
  • Yeager, T. H. Dwarf Yaupon Holly Response to Fertilizer Application Rate and Frequency, HortTechnology, 6(1), 1996, 41-45.
  • Yeager, T., D. Fare, J. Lea-Cox, J. Ruter, T. Bilderback, C. Gilliam, A. Niemiera, K. Tilt, S. Warren, R. Wright, and T. Whitwell. 2007. Best management practices: guide for producing nursery crops. 2nd ed. Southern Nursery Assn., Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Yeager, T., J. Million, C. Larsen, and B. Stamps. 2010. Florida Nursery Best Management Practices: Past, Present, and Future. HortTechnology 20: 82-88.