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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Research Project #445117

Research Project: Evaluation of native and underutilized woody ornamental nursery crops for breeding and production potential

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Project Number: 8020-21000-086-004-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 22, 2023
End Date: Sep 21, 2028

The objective of this research is to develop, evaluate, and release improved germplasm of species native to the United States to expand market opportunities and decrease the environmental footprint of nursery production.

This new five-year NACA with Tennessee State University (TSU) will support collaborative research on replicated trials of species native to United States with production potential in the Southeast. TSU and ARS scientists will evaluate replicated trials of native and underrepresented woody landscape species for ornamental merit, disease and insect incidence and tolerance, potential for breeding improvement, and potential for production in the Southeast U.S. 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. Ornamental merit and potential for breeding improvement will be evaluated based on comparisons to industry standard cultivars, ability of plants to hybridize successfully within and between species, and genetic inheritance of ornamental traits. Production potential will include growth rate, overall plant health, and ease of propagation.