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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Gardens Unit » Research » Research Project #426365

Research Project: Establish and Maintain Public Display Gardens for Woody and Herbaceous Landscape Plants

Location: Gardens Unit

2015 Annual Report


Objectives
Objective 1: Collect, propagate, preserve, evaluate, document, display, distribute, and introduce woody and herbaceous landscape ornamentals with enhanced aesthetic appeal, resistance to extreme weather, resistance to pests and diseases, and enhanced ecosystem benefits. Collection activities will focus on native plants due to difficulties with collecting plants in most other countries. [NP301, C1, PS1A] Objective 2: Disseminate scientific and practical information to floral and nursery crop industries, to public gardens, to the increasing number of visitors to the U.S. National Arboretum and its Website, and to the general public interested in gardening. [NP301, C2, PS2B] Sub-objective 2.a. Develop exhibits and interpretive signage that reflect current relevant ARS horticultural research programs, including the scientific mission of the U.S. National Arboretum. Sub-objective 2.b. Develop educational programming to increase awareness of ARS research and germplasm preservation taking place at the U.S. National Arboretum.


Approach
The U.S. National Arboretum will continue to serve the public need for scientific research, education, and gardens that conserve and showcase plants to enhance the environment. This will be accomplished by maintaining outstanding gardens, plant collections, and public displays in an environmentally responsible and aesthetically pleasing manner. New ornamental cultivars and germplasm will be acquired using the Collections Policy and the newly developed Strategic Plan as a guide, and in support of the National Plant Germplasm System. Plants will come from nursery sources, wild-collected, or the USNA research program. Plants with superior landscape attributes will be propagated for distribution and evaluation. Staff will continue to utilize integrated pest management (IPM) in management of their collections and will explore the use or demonstration of other technologies such as solar power, green roofs, rain gardens, and water wise gardens as funds allow. Plant records will be updated and coordinated with GRIN-global, and information will be uploaded to the publicly accessible Arboretum Botanical Explorer database. A new exhibit and educational program, GrassRoots, will be put in place. Educational opportunities will be optimized and implemented to provide formal and informal educational programming through exhibits, signs, publications, web pages, lectures, workshops, and tours. Volunteer and internship programs will continue to be supported.


Progress Report
Springhouse Run Stream Restoration and R Street Parking Lot Retrofits. The design work and permitting is now complete for this project, and the District of Columbia Department of Environment is negotiating with contractors to get the contract awarded. Plants destined to be incorporated in the restored area are ready for planting. Friendship Garden Renovation. A new irrigation system has been installed in the Friendship Garden, and several declining trees were removed from the garden. Aggressive perennials are being removed and the garden will be prepared for planting that is expected to begin in autumn 2015. APGA Plant Collections Symposium Hosted. Education Program staff played a key role in the hosting of the APGA Plant Collections Symposium in October 2014. The program was sold out and received good reviews from colleagues in the public garden professional community. Treatment of Fraxinus Against Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). A survey of Fraxinus was conducted in 2014 to quantify the number, location, and size of trees on the grounds. Training was completed and equipment was purchased so staff could inject trees with emamectin benzoate to protect trees from EAB infestation. Treatment is currently underway and is aimed at preserving naturally occurring ash germplasm as well as taxa planted in collections.


Accomplishments
1. Grass roots exhibit opened at United States National Arboretum. Gardens Unit staff at the United States National Arboretum, Washington, District of Columbia, completed the new Grass Roots Exhibit that features turfgrass, ornamental grasses, and agronomic grasses and interprets the importance of grasses in maintaining environmental quality, current turfgrass research, and the interaction of humans with grasses. The exhibit resulted from collaboration with the National Turfgrass Federation. A total of more than $350,000 in cash and in-kind donations from the turfgrass industry was raised to fund the construction and maintenance of the exhibit, which opened on October 16, 2014. A series of educational and outreach events have taken place in the exhibit since its opening, and the exhibit is expected to be in place for five years.