Skip to main content

Commencement pictures

Last Sunday, Carol Grove attended her last commencement breakfast and ceremony as Graduate Field Assistant. (She retires June 5.) As usual, she took some great pictures.

Do you have pictures to share? Send a link to your album to cdc25@cornell.edu.

Bill Borgstede MPS '15 and his advisor and associate professor in the Horticulture Section Frank Rossi.

Bill Borgstede MPS ’15 and his advisor and associate professor in the Horticulture Section Frank Rossi.

New spacious greenhouses support research

Greg Inzinna, greenhouse grower with the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, is tending cassava plants in the new greenhouses. This breeding project aims to improve agricultural productivity and food security in Africa.

From Anja Timm (ait4@cornell.edu), Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES):

Cornell researchers now have a new, state-of-the-art greenhouse facility available to house tall crops important to New York State growers, such as corn, trellised peas, alfalfa and biofuel grasses.

Part of the Guterman Greenhouse Range east of the School of Veterinary Medicine, the 8,000-square-foot facility is also home to research projects with international impact, such as the cassava breeding project.

Precision environmental controls, 16-foot double-pane glass side walls, and shade- and insulation-curtains in all eight compartments create a highly energy-efficient research environment.

CUAES manages 179,000 square feet of greenhouse space on and around the Cornell Campus, making it the largest non-commercial greenhouse facility in New York. They house 200 to 300 research projects at any given time. The facilities are supported by a dedicated greenhouse team that is committed to sustainable practices and continues to implement new ways to reduce energy use and waste.

Right: Greg Inzinna, greenhouse grower with the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, is tending cassava plants in the new greenhouses. This breeding project aims to improve agricultural productivity and food security in Africa.

young plants in greenhouse

Bassuk receives AHS Teaching Award

Nina Bassuk, professor in the Horticulture Section and director of Cornell’s Urban Horticulture Institute has been honored with the Teaching Award in the American Horticultural Society’s 2015 Great American Gardeners Awards.

The award is given to an individual whose ability to share his or her horticultural knowledge with others has contributed to a better public understanding of the plant world and its important influence on society.

AHS notes that in addition to teaching college classes, Bassuk is co-author of Trees in the Urban Landscape: Site Assessment, Design, and Installation (Wiley, 2004), and has published more than 100 papers on urban horticulture such as evaluations of improved plant selections for difficult sites and improved transplanting technology. Bassuk is a member of the executive committee of the New York State Urban Forestry Council and received the Arthur Hoyt Scott Medal and Award in 2008 from the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. AHS previously recognized Bassuk with their Urban Beautification Award in 1992.

Earlier this year, Bassuk received the Frederick Law Olmsted Award from the Arbor Day Foundation and was named a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow.

Bassuk instructs students before planting.

Bassuk instructs ‘Urban Eden’ students before planting Tower Rd. bioswale, September 2014.

Mattson named to GPN’s ’40 Under 40′ list

Neil Mattson, Associate Professor in the Horticulture Section, has been honored in GPN Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2015 list. GPN (Greenhouse Product News) is the leading business publication for horticulture professionals.

Class members were nominated by their horticulture/floriculture industry peers based on personal and professional accomplishments. Mattson is one of 40 trailblazers under the age of 40 who exemplifies superior leadership, creativity, innovative thinking and accomplishments in and outside the horticulture field.

“The 40 individuals in this year’s class represent all facets of horticulture, but they all have one thing in common,” says GPN Editorial Director Tim Hodson. “They are the pioneers for the future of our industry.”

Mattson’s GPN profile notes that he has authored or co-authored 27 peer-reviewed papers, 38 articles in trade journals, 30 newsletters and book chapters and delivered 160 extension presentations. His research program focuses on the influence of environmental factors and cultural practices on the physiology, development and biochemical characteristics of greenhouse crops.

neal-familyx640

Congratulations graduating Plant Sciences Majors

From Leah Cynara Cook, Plant Sciences Undergraduate Program Coordinator:

On Monday, May 18, the School of Integrative Plant Science held its annual luncheon to honor graduating seniors in Plant Sciences and recipients of two awards given out through the  Horticulture Section to outstanding Plant Sciences students.

Students were joined by Director of Undergraduate Studies Mike Scanlon, Horticulture Section Chair Marvin Pritts, and  Plant Sciences Undergraduate Program Coordinator Leah Cook.

Congratulations graduating plant science majors

Above from the left: Mike Scanlon, Liana Acevedo-Siaca, Princess Swan, Katharine Constas, Jeremy Pardo, Marvin Pritts, Leah Cook. Not pictured: Michael Gandler.

 

Jeremy Pardo, Marvin Pritts, Katharin Constas.

Above: Horticulture Section chair Marvin Pritts congratulates Jeremy Pardo (left), who received the 2015 H.R. Schenkel Sr. Memorial Fund Award, which recognizes superior academic achievement by a sophomore or junior enrolled at Cornell University who specializes in horticulture, and Katharine Constas (right), who received the 2015 Kenneth Post Award, which is given annually by the Kenneth Post Foundation to an outstanding senior in horticulture and plant sciences. The award emphasizes academic achievement, but also considers character, leadership, participation in university activities, and promise of continued success in horticulture.

NYFVI awards $1.5M to 21 projects

Jim Bittner, Chair of the Board of Directors of NYFVI and owner of Bittner-Singer Orchards.

Jim Bittner, Chair of the Board of Directors of NYFVI and owner of Bittner-Singer Orchards.

The New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) announced that it is funding 21 projects at a total of $1,539,324 in 2015.  Grant recipients seek to build and share practical knowledge that directly improves the economic viability of New York’s farmers.  “Our increased funding from New York State allowed us to support more projects, and a wider range of projects.” said Jim Bittner, Chair of the Board of Directors of NYFVI and owner of Bittner-Singer Orchards.

In order to ensure grants address on-the-ground priorities, all proposals were evaluated by NYFVI’s extensive farmer review network. The Institute’s volunteer board or directors, comprised of ten farmers from across the state, made the final funding decisions.

Many of the projects are of horticultural interest, including:

  • Cornell Onion Thrips Management Program (COTMP) Saves Money and Reduces Insecticide Resistance
  • Managing an Emerging Threat: Ambrosia Beetle Black Stem Borer Control in Apple Nurseries
  • Sustainable Management of Root Weevil Populations for Improved Profitability on Eastern NY Berry Farms
  • Low Tunnel Strawberries: A Cost-Effective Approach to Extending the Growing Season for NY Berries.
  • Increasing the Efficacy and Economic Viability of Trap and Kill Systems for Invasive Pests
  • Assessing the Impact of Pesticides on Honey Bee Health
  • Using Cover Crops to Improve Soil Heath and Vine Productivity in Concord Vineyards
  • Equipping Apple Growers to Quantify the Role of Native Bees in Pollination
  • Integrating Spatial Maps to use Variable Rate Technology in Mechanized Concord Vineyards
  • Engaging Growers for NY Production of Chinese Medicinal Herbs
  • Marketing Plans to Help NYC Greenmarket Farmers Build Sales
  • Greenhouse Assistance Directory

View project summaries.
Full news release.

Weekend wildflower walk

From Marvin Pritts, Horticulture Section chair:

Eighteen intrepid hikers headed off to Thatcher’s Pinnacles in the Danby State Forest on Sunday to see an incredible view and many wildflowers and uncommon trees. Along the trail we observed American chestnut and chestnut oak, along with pink lady’s slipper in full bloom, Trillium grandiflorum, Canada mayflower, Gnaphalium obtusifolium, starflower, Polygala, geranium, Uvularia, and many more.

weekend wildflower walkers

One of the Best Fields for New College Graduates? Agriculture.

USDA news release [2015-05-11]

Nearly 60,000 High-Skilled Agriculture Job Openings Expected Annually in U.S., Yet Only 35,000 Graduates Available to Fill Them

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new report showing tremendous demand for recent college graduates with a degree in agricultural programs with an estimated 57,900 high-skilled job openings annually in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment fields in the United States. According to an employment outlook report released today by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, there is an average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture related fields, 22,500 short of the jobs available annually.

“There is incredible opportunity for highly-skilled jobs in agriculture,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Those receiving degrees in agricultural fields can expect to have ample career opportunities. Not only will those who study agriculture be likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation, they will also have the satisfaction of working in a field that addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges. These jobs will only become more important as we continue to develop solutions to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.”

The report projects almost half of the job opportunities will be in management and business. Another 27 percent will be in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. Jobs in food and biomaterials production will make up 15 percent, and 12 percent of the openings will be in education, communication, and governmental services. The report also shows that women make up more than half of the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment higher education graduates in the United States.

Read the whole release.

Students in Principles of Vegetable Production class (HORT 3500) learn the ins and outs of more than a dozen tillage, planting and cultivation implements at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.

Students in Principles of Vegetable Production class (HORT 3500) learn the ins and outs of more than a dozen tillage, planting and cultivation implements at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.

Willow program featured on the cover of BioEnergy Research

 

bioenergy-coverx400Images from Larry Smart‘s shrub willow bioenergy crop research program are featured on the June issue of the Journal BioEnergy Research.

Smart and grad student Eric Fabio are among the co-authors of the article Untapped Potential: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainable Bioenergy Production from Marginal Lands in the Northeast USA in the issue.

Find out more about Smart’s research program at his Willowpedia website.

Is it safe to plant impatiens?

Impatiens downy mildew disease is still around and may devastate plantings of this bedding plant, long a favorite for shady locations.

Impatiens downy mildew disease is still around and may devastate plantings of this bedding plant, long a favorite for shady locations.

From Margery Daughtrey, Senior Extension Associate, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University. She is based at the Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center, Riverhead, N.Y. Click on images for larger view.

Everyone is asking about impatiens: Is it safe to plant them again?

Beginning in 2008, a new disease, impatiens downy mildew, started showing up in the landscape in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. By 2012, it was wreaking widespread havoc all season long for gardeners in New York and many other states.

With a few exceptions, the disease only plagues the impatiens commonly used as a bedding plant in shady locations (Impatiens walleriana) and a close relative, balsam impatiens (Impatiens balsamina). But the disease can also infect native jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).

The disease is most devastating on the bedding impatiens. They stop flowering, drop all their leaves, and keel over. Balsams just show spots on their leaves with the characteristic white “downy” spore structures coating the undersides of the leaves.Infected impatiens show characteristic white “downy” spore structure coating on the undersides of the leaves.

Infected impatiens show characteristic white “downy” spore structure coating on the undersides of the leaves.

 

The dramatic outbreaks of this disease have not been as widespread in recent years. But that is because greenhouse growers and landscapers and have shied away from producing a plant that they knew wasn’t going to perform reliably. Fewer plants grown means fewer instances of the disease.

But impatiens downy mildew hasn’t gone away. In 2014, my helpful network of impatiens-watchers reported the disease in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and the Hudson Valley in June, in balsam impatiens flower beds in Lockport, N.Y., and Buffalo in July, on bedding impatiens in central New York and on Long Island in August, and in Rochester in September. The disease also turned up in 20 other states last year.

balsam-impatiensx400

Balsam impatiens are also susceptible to the disease, but aren’t affected as dramatically. There are many other shade-loving annual and perennial alternatives to impatiens.

So, no. The disease is not gone. But we are using less of its host plant so we don’t hear as much about it.

Here’s the problem: Impatiens downy mildew can persist in frost-free parts of the country, and also the mildew can form special spores called oospores that we expect may help it to survive New York winters and re-infect plants the following season. Cornell researchers are focusing on the oospores to learn more about the overwinter survival of the downy mildew, and on breeding new hybrid impatiens that are less susceptible to the disease.

Ultimately, the solution to this problem will be found by breeding downy-mildew-resistant impatiens. In the meantime, gardeners can grow New Guinea impatiens and the new hybrid Bounce™ impatiens with full confidence, knowing that they will resist the downy mildew and flower colorfully all season.

And it’s perfectly OK for gardeners to add in a few bedding impatiens in shady areas, along with begonias, coleus, torenia and other great bedding plants that flourish under similar shady conditions. (Nora Catlin, Floriculture Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, created a great factsheet on Alternatives to Garden Impatiens.)

The luckiest of the impatiens will escape downy mildew. We just need to realize that they are still susceptible to the disease, and that the disease is still a possibility, subject to the variation in weather from year to year.

For more information on impatiens downy mildew, visit the CCE Suffolk County floriculture website.