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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Research Project #435210

Research Project: Evaluation of Improved Germplasm for Nursery and Landscape Use

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Project Number: 8020-21000-072-07-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2021

Objective:
Funding for this project supports research on replicated trials to develop, evaluate, and release improved germplasm of species native to the Southeastern US to expand market opportunities and decrease the environmental footprint of nursery production.

Approach:
Replicated trials will be established to develop, evaluate, and release improved germplasm of species native to the Southeastern US to expand market opportunities for producers, stimulate consumer interest, and mitigate the environmental footprint of nursery production. Trials will include but are not limited to Callicarpa, Chionanthus, Cornus, Fothergilla, Hamamelis, Hydrangea, and Viburnum. A comprehensive list of trial accessions will be assembled through grower surveys in conjunction with the Southern Extension and Research Activities Information Exchange Group for Nursery Crop and Landscape Systems (SERA-IEG 27). Evaluations will emphasize disease incidence and tolerance, production value, ornamental merit, and potential for breeding improvement. Disease incidence and tolerance will be evaluated both in situ and in replicated laboratory assays designed to identify and screen for diseases in juvenile stages and propagation. Methods of controlling fungal and bacterial diseases including biocontrol methods and biorational pesticides will be investigated. Evaluation for production merit will include investigations into propagation methods and substrates, insect and weed pests, and correct siting. Ornamental merit and potential for breeding improvement will be evaluated based on comparisons to industry standard cultivars, ability of plants to mate successfully within and between species, and genetic inheritance of ornamental traits.