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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

ARS 50th Anniversary Celebration

Logo Image for "A R S : The Future Grows Here"Agricultural Research Service
50th Anniversary

Local Event

Pacific West Area
Tree Fruit Research Laboratory
Wenatchee, WA


A Brief history of the Tree Fruit Research Laboratory, Wenatchee, WA.

1913 Research initiated by D.F. Fisher to address fire blight and powdery mildew diseases of apple and pear. Laboratory space was developed in a barn in south Wenatchee.

1925 Projects to address spray residues, virus diseases, and storage and handling practices of deciduous tree fruit initiated.

1931 Office and laboratory activities consolidated to the Chelan County courthouse annex in Wenatchee.

1940 Office and laboratory activities moved to the old post office annex in Wenatchee.

1945 Research on biennial bearing and mineral nutrition of apple initiated.

1946 Columbia View Experimental Orchard established with funds provided by the Washington State Horticultural Association and the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

1949 Transportation and storage facilities research initiated.

1978 Construction of current laboratory facility completed.

Some major accomplishments:

  • Development of virus indexing for apple to assure virus-free planting stock.
  • Development of horticultural management systems to manipulate apple crop load and control tree size.
  • Development of polymer liners for boxes and bins to reduce fruit quality loss.
  • Development of postharvest practices including CO2 shock and cultivar-specific controlled atmosphere storage protocols to optimize post-storage quality of apples and pears.
  • Development of management systems to alleviate pear fruit quality problems related to mineral nutrition.
  • Development of biologically-based soil management programs to alleviate specific apple replant disease.
  • Identification of microorganisms that are effective biocontrol agents for control of postharvest decay and fire blight disease.



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Last Modified: 7/6/2016