Mr Burks takes up the role for 2012/2013, replacing outgoing chairman Dennis Espley.
Mr Burks manages Sanders Garden World in Somerset and is the Regional Manager for four South West-based garden centres. Part of his new role will be to help boost awareness of the Garden Centre Association.
"I am delighted to have been appointed as GCA Chairman and I am looking forward to helping spread the word of the GCA and promoting its work," he said. "The GCA's new slogan for 2012 is 'Better standards, better business' and this will be the theme for my year in tenure."
He added: "I will be helping to plan some of the organisations events in 2012 and my first role will be to help organise and run the annual GCA Conference, which takes place from January 23 until 25 in Oxfordshire."
Mr Burks, who has more than 30 years' experience in the industry, has a degree in horticulture from the University of Bath. His family also has an extensive background in horticulture. Both of Mr Burks' parents ran garden centres until they retired and three other members of the Burks family work in the industry.
GCA chief executive Gillie Westwood said: "I would like to congratulate Peter on his new position and wish him all the best with his work for the GCA in 2012 and 2013.
"I would also like to thank Dennis Espley for all his hard work in his role as 2011's chairman."