Trademarking Trees with Dr. Werner

Trademarking Trees with Dr. Werner

Each year has its new must-have plants. But those plants can take decades to go from idea to the perfect new plant for your garden. Prominent plant breeder, Dr. Denny Werner, explains how he created the popular ‘Ruby Falls’ redbud tree and gives us a sneak peek at his latest creation.  Dr. Werner also explains why some plants are trademarked or patented and how that supports future research.

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Sizing Up Substrates


To be profitable, container production of horticultural crops requires precise control of water and fertilizers. Physical properties of horticultural substrates have been studied in order to help develop more effective irrigation and fertilization strategies. One of these physical properties–particle size–is incredibly important in substrates. The particle size distribution of a substrate influences its water holding capacity and pore size, which affect irrigation, drainage, and aeration. The pH, CEC, fertility, and stability (amount of decomposition and nitrogen immobilization by microbial populations) are also greatly influenced by particle size. Continue reading

Pharr Seminar: Why bees are disappearing by Dr. Spivak

This year the Mason Pharr Seminar committee is proud to announce that Dr. Marla Spivak from the University of Minnesota will be our speaker, Thursday, March 17, 2016. Dr. Spivak is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Apiculture and Social Insects. She received her B.A from Hombolt State University in Biology and her PhD from the University of Kansas in entomology. She was a 2010 MacArthur Fellow and teaches several courses in bee management, pollinator protection and insect societies. Continue reading

Horticulture Shines at Bayer CropScience Research Symposium

2015 Bayer CropScience Research SymposiumThe Department of Horticultural Science was well represented at the first annual Bayer CropScience Research Symposium and poster competition on November 5. PhD student Nicholas Basinger and Master’s student Laura Kaderabek won first and second place, respectively. Over 80 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from universities across the Triangle submitted applications to present posters, with 28 being selected to participate in the event. In addition to presenting posters, participants had the opportunity to learn more about industry research, tour the Bayer CropScience facilities at RTP, network with Bayer scientists, and learn about careers at Bayer CropScience. Continue reading

Native Grasses as an Alternative to Turfgrasses in Out-of-Play Areas on Golf Courses


Buffalograss used in a simulated lawn setting at HFL twelve months after installation. (Photograph by G. Burgner).

In the past few years, turfgrass researchers have been interested in native grasses as a replacement for some managed turfgrass areas. Traditional turfgrasses generally require more resources, especially on home lawns and golf courses. Typically, native grasses require less fertilization, are more drought tolerant, and are more disease and insect resistant. Severe droughts over the past few years have increased the public’s awareness of and requests for low-input turf-type grasses. Fortunately, continued breeding and wider-spread use of native grasses have led to the production of high quality native grasses that can stand up to the expectations of golf course superintendents and homeowners. Continue reading