Dr. Nina L. BassukNina Bassuk
Professor and director


  • Tree, shrub and ground cover selection and evaluation based on site environmental conditions.
  • Developing screening protocols to objectively assess a woody plant adaptation to environmental stress factors.
  • Asexual propagation of desirable, hard-to-root woody plants.
  • Investigating transplanting and establishment problems in several genera of shrubs and trees.
  • Development and application of a load-bearing soil mix to use under pavements, CU-Structural Soil™.
  • Use of wear tolerant turf on CU-Structural Soil™.
  • Use or porous pavements on CU-Structural Soil™ for stormwater capture and filtering.
  • Predicting urban forest genera, species, tree number and size in New York State based on a subsample of street tree inventories.


  • “Creating the Urban Eden : Woody Plant Identification, Design and Plant Establishment” HORT/LA 4910 and 4920, 8 credits.


  • Bulletins and other resources, workshops, conferences.
  • NYS Urban Forestry Council, member of, Integrated Pest Management, Sustainable Landscapes and Community Forestry Program Work Teams.
  • Developed Student Weekend Arborist Team (SWAT) to help small municipalities assess and manage their street and park trees.

More about Bassuk:


Anne JohnsonAnne Johnson – Anne works as support staff for all UHI research, focusing primarily on the tissue culture propagation of our oak hybrids. She also plants and maintains several teaching and demonstration gardens on campus. Anne graduated from Cornell with a master’s degree in 2013 under Nina Bassuk, then worked for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation as a forester before returning to Cornell. She is a certified arborist.

Visiting fellow

Bryan Denig Bryan Denig – Bryan’s research involves the selection, evaluation, and propagation of a number of unique oak hybrids created by the UHI in 2004-2006. These diverse hybrids have the promise of increased vigor and better adaptation to urban stresses such as alkaline soil, flooding, drought, and pests. Since 2012, Bryan has been working on this project with the objective of developing superior oaks for urban landscapes. The ultimate goal of this long-term project is to introduce these selections into the nursery trade as named cultivars. To overcome the challenges with propagating oaks asexually, he is currently working with tissue culture techniques in order to rapidly multiply large numbers of clonally propagated oaks.

Graduate students

Brandon MillerBrandon Miller – Brandon is a PhD student in horticulture. His research investigates the factors that explain why some trees are more difficult to transplant than others and explores production techniques that may alleviate these issues. The objective of the project is to determine the causal agents that influence transplant success, with an emphasis on species belonging to the genus Carya (hickories), and provide practical solutions for nursery growers. The goal of this research is to provide protocols that will enhance the nursery production of more diverse taxa, including hickories, resulting in viable nursery crop options and new selections for use in managed landscapes. Brandon received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy and Horticulture and his Master of Science degree in Horticulture from Iowa State University in 2015 and 2017.

Brittany Lenze – Brittany is an MPS student in horticulture. Her research investigates clonal asexual propagate as a viable mean of reproduction in desirable, hard-to-root woody plants. The objective of the project is to determine what factors aid or inhibit the success of rooting in clonally propagated woody plants. The goal of this research is to provide an alternative method to produce desirable, hard-to-root woody plants making them more available in the nursery trade. Brittany received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a focus in Ecology from Lycoming College in 2019.