The Horticultural Research Institute has selected 13 projects for funding in the 2017 grant year, providing a total of $289,500 to support research that will benefit the green industry. Programs receiving funds this year include the following:

  • Improved sanitation/hygiene practices in nursery crop production. Principal Investigator: Dr. F. Baysal-Gurel, Tennessee State University Objective: This project aims to address plant disease management through the use of improved sanitation and hygiene practices.
  • Developing a modified hydroponic stock plant system for mini-cuttings of difficult-to-root nursery crops. Principal Investigator: Dr. R. Geneve, University of Kentucky Objective: This project will compare plant vigor and root system development in the production of mini-cuttings through a modified hydroponic system with traditional cuttings using eastern redbud as a model system.
  • Assessing Human Health Benefits of Gardening. Principal Investigator: Dr. C. Guy, University of Florida Objective: This project will demonstrate quantifiably therapeutic benefits to human health through gardening and horticulture therapy.
  • Development of weed control strategies for bioretention that protect water quality. Principal Investigator: Dr. H. Kraus, North Carolina State University Objective: This project will better enable members of the green industry to manage weeds in rain gardens while still protecting water quality.
  • Determining the impact of soilless substrate age, composition, fertilizer placement, and irrigation regime on weed management in container nursery plant production. Principal Investigator: Dr. C. Marble, University of Florida Objective: This project will provide the basis of an all-inclusive, systems-based approach to weed control in soilless substrates to help growers reduce weed control costs.
  • Evaluation of new herbicides and formulations to develop more effective and economical herbicide rotations for nursery production. Principal Investigator: Dr. C. Marble, University of Florida Objective: This project will present herbicide control information in two commonly requested formats, direct efficacy comparisons of the newest products and formulations and a rotation schedule.
  • Control strategies for Nostoc, a health and safety concern in container nurseries. Principal Investigator: Dr. J. Neal, North Carolina State University Objective: This project will identify treatment options for control of “the green slime” in nurseries.
  • Assessing bee attractiveness of woody landscape plants and mitigating potential bee hazard from neonicotinoid insecticides. Principal Investigator: Dr. D. Potter, University of Kentucky Objective: This project will continue Dr. Potter’s previous research in years 2015- 2016 and will expand to compare native to nonnative plants in terms of forage quality and quantity.
  • Beyond Sedum: expanding the plant palette for green roofs. Principal Investigator: Dr. B. Rowe, Michigan State University Objective: This project will identify plants (other than Sedum) able to withstand harsh temperatures, drying winds, and extreme fluctuations in root zone temperature and moisture levels for use on green roofs.
  • New groundcover and native grass species when replacing turfgrass. Principal Investigator: Dr. K. Umeda, University of Arizona Objective: This project will evaluate ten (10) grass species and two (2) ground covers as low input turf alternatives where traditional turfgrass has been removed from native areas on golf courses.
  • Development of protocols for micropropagation of woody trees using last-generation bioreactors. Principal Investigator: Dr. W. Vendrame, University of Florida Objective: This project will optimize protocols for the micropropagation of woody ornamentals, such as olive trees, hybrid palms, dwarf coconut trees, and various ornamental flowering landscape trees, using bioreactor technology.
  • Do pH and alkalinity of irrigation runoff influence floating treatment wetland efficacy? Principal Investigator: Dr. S. White, Clemson University Objective: This project will characterize the capacity of aquatic plant species to effectively fix nutrients in varied pH and alkalinity levels through measurement of their growth and survival in a floating system.
  • Pairing vegetative buffers and slow sand filtration to remediate diseases from irrigation runoff. Principal Investigator: Dr. S. White, Clemson University Objective: This project will develop an effective and low-cost buffer system to remediate Phytophthora species from irrigation water using a combination of vegetative buffers and slow sand filtration.

To date, HRI has committed more than $7.3 million to support green industry research, $10 million of which is committed to the endowment by individuals, corporations and associations.