Archive for the “Grad program” Category

If you missed Monday’s seminar, Soils in the Urban Environment: A Long Term Evaluation of the Scoop & Dump Remediation Strategy with Miles Sax, MPS/PGL Program Graduate Field of Horticulture, it’s available online.

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Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo) spent a chilly but not totally unpleasant Tuesday afternoon pruning apple trees at Cornell Orchards. The Cornell Orchards retail store remains open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

SoHo pruning at Cornell Orchards

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chili_cookoffFrom horticulture grad student Adam Karl:

The Plant Sciences Chili Cook-Off will be held in Emerson 135 on Friday, March 21, 4 to 6:30 p.m. The Departments of Crop and Soil Science, Horticulture, Plant Biology, Plant Breeding, and Plant Pathology should assemble their best chili chefs in three categories:

  • Meat
  • Vegetarian
  • Wild-Card (contains at least one non-traditional chili ingredient)

Students, Faculty, and Staff are all welcome to participate! To enter the contest, email chili entries to me (Adam Karl,

Please include the following info:

  • names of cooks
  • category
  • name of chili

Registration deadline is Friday, March 14. We only have room for 20 chili entrants – so don’t delay registering!

There will be prizes for the winners of each chili category.

We look forward to sampling some chili with you!

The Chili and Games team

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Dreer award posterFrom Nina Bassuk, Chair, Dreer Award Committee:

Ashley Marchesi, Dreer award winner for 2012, will be returning to campus on Wednesday, February 19th to present her Dreer award experiences investigating urban agriculture in Argentina and Cuba. Her seminar will be held in Room 22 Plant Science at 12:20 PM.

All are welcome.

The Frederick Dreer Award allows one or more students to spend four months to up to a year abroad pursuing his or her interests related to horticulture. Deadline for 2014 award is March 3.

More Dreer Award information, application.

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Melissa Kitchen

Melissa Kitchen

As part of the Garden Talent series on her blog Gardening with Confidence, author Helen Yoest interviewed Melissa Kitchen, graduate student in the Public Garden Leadership Program.

Read how Melissa came to love plants and gardening and pursue education and a career in horticulture: Garden Talent: Melissa Jane Kitchen.

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Bioswale at Cornell Plantations filters water from nearby parking lot. (Photo: Ethan Dropkin)

Bioswale at Cornell Plantations filters water from nearby parking lot. (Photo: Ethan Dropkin)

Rain gardens, filter strips and bioswales are a great way to help reduce runoff, flooding and pollution while increasing groundwater infiltration and aquifer recharge – especially in urban areas.

These stormwater prevention practices are often planted with herbaceous plants such as swamp milkweed, soft rush and Joe-Pye weed that tolerate periodic flooding while also surviving dry periods between storms. But these plant need to be cut back annually after their leaves and stems die back to the ground.

Carefully chosen woody shrubs, on the other hand, can do the same job with less maintenance. Plus they can provide aesthetic benefits, year-round interest, shade and wildlife habitat all while removing and sequestering carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – from the atmosphere.

To help choose the right shrub for these uses, the Department of Horticulture’s Urban Horticulture Institute (UHI) has just released a 56-page guide, Woody Shrubs for Stormwater Retention Practices (Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions).  The guide details site assessment and design considerations for those practices and profiles more than 35 woody shrub species that can tolerate both dry and periodically saturated soil conditions typical of retention areas.

The guide is based in part on a study conducted in Ithaca, N.Y., by Master of Professional Studies student Ethan M. Dropkin guided by co-author and UHI director Nina Bassuk. The study tested the flood and drought tolerances of six of the shrub species included in the guide.

Free electronic versions of the guide are available through the outreach section of the UHI website:

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Lee Dean teaches tree climbing at Cornell Plantations

Lee Dean teaches tree climbing at Cornell Plantations. Photos by Taryn Bauerle.

Lee Dean, lead arborist at Cornell Plantations, Wednesday taught basic tree-climbing to students in HORT 4940 (Special topics in Horticulture: Arboriculture – Applied Tree Care).

Along with Dean, Taryn Bauerle and Don Rakow in the Department of Horticulture teach the course, which is new this semester. Students in the course get hands-on experience with

  • Tree establishment
  • Assessing plant health
  • Worker safety
  • Pruning techniques
  • Urban forestry

Questions about the course? Contact Taryn Bauerle  or Don Rakow

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Vinay Pagay holds a

Vinay Pagay holds a “lab on a chip” that measures moisture levels in soil and can be embedded in plant stems for accurate information on water stress. The researchers hope to mass produce the chips for as little as $5 each. Jason Koski/University Photography

From Cornell Chronicle article 2013-10-10:

Crop growers, wine grape and other fruit growers, food processors and even concrete makers all benefit from water sensors for accurate, steady and numerous moisture readings. But current sensors are large, may cost thousands of dollars and often must be read manually.

Now, Cornell researchers including Alan Lakso, professor in the Department of Horticulture, and PhD candidate Vinay Pagay, have developed a microfluidic water sensor within a fingertip-sized silicon chip that is a hundred times more sensitive than current devices. The researchers are now completing soil tests and will soon test their design in plants, embedding their “lab on a chip” in the stems of grape vines, for example. They hope to mass produce the sensors for as little as $5 each.

Read the whole story.

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apple festival map

Click map for larger view.

Due to construction on The Commons, our Society for Horticulture Graduate Students booth will not be in its usual location at this weekend’s 31st Annual Downtown Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival.

If you’re looking for fruit from Cornell Orchards and more goodies, look for them east of the Commons, north of State Street (in the alley beside the Old Goat sports shop), near the Community School of Music and Arts stage.

View map.

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Horticulture grad students Judy Lee and Jeremie Blum sell apples at the Farmers Market on the Ag Quad. (Via CALS Notes)

Horticulture grad students Judy Lee and Jeremie Blum sell apples at the Farmers Market on the Ag Quad. (Via CALS Notes)

Cornell research orchard seeks the perfect apple [Associated Press 2013-09-27] – Profiles Cornell’s apple breeding program under the leadership of Susan Brown. “The orchards, part of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, are essentially a 50-acre lab devoted to developing apples that are tasty for consumers and hardy for farmers. The station has released 66 apple varieties over more than a century including Cortland, Macoun and two new entries at farm markets this fall: SnapDragon and RubyFrost. See also video (below) and photo gallery.

Ten Cornell specialty crops projects get USDA funding [Cornell Chronicle 2013-09-26] – Ten of the 11 research projects announced by N.Y. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Sept. 25, supported by more than $900,000 in federal funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will go to Cornell projects. They range from improving the resiliency of New York’s crops to expanding the reach of New York state’s agricultural sector. This funding includes $154,000 to support the state’s wine and grape industry.

From humble peanut to lifesaving legume [Cornell Chronicle 2013-09-23] – Cornell researchers, students and alumni are working alongside aid agencies in Haiti and Kenya to transform the humble peanut into a lifesaving legume. One is Bryan Sobel, M.S. ’13, who is working as a research and extension programs specialist for Meds and Food for Kids. Sobel, who once worked in the nursery industry and studied agroforestry with associate professor of horticulture Ken Mudge as part of his graduate studies, hopes his hands-on background in agriculture will allow him to adapt well to Haiti’s dynamic agricultural systems.

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