Scouting is just what it sounds like. Walking your nursery, greenhouse or garden and inspecting for potential problems or current problems. Doing this will prevent for small problems escalating to big ones that can be difficult to treat. This is one of the most important jobs at a growing facility, because this person will stop a problem before it becomes an economic problem.
A scout should be someone that can stay focused, detailed oriented and can work without being supervised.
When scouting you want to check all parts of the plant. I start at the leaves. Then check stems, trunk, soil surface and yes the roots too, if you can take the plant out of the pot. If a plant does not have a healthy root system you can not have a healthy plant. A scout should have all the right tools to do their job like hand lens, bags, microscope, ID guides, collection vials and notebook.
By keeping records they can be of long-term benefit as many pests tend to appear at about the same time each year. In the short run the records will let you know if a method,be it chemical/ biological/ or mechanical actually worked. If the control method didn’t work you will be better equipped to analyze the situation to find out if the problem was poor timing, poor application, or pesticide resistance or population dynamics.