HRI Announces 2020 Grant Awards

Jennifer Zurko

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), the foundation of AmericanHort, announced the portfolio of research projects to be funded in 2020. Projects fit into the cadre of research priorities established in support of the new strategic vision. Research priority areas include quantifying plant benefits, creating innovative solutions, gathering consumer insights, and producing practical and actionable solutions. A total of $345,800 will be awarded this year.  

HRI’s mission is to direct, fund, promote and communicate horticulture research. Supporting research that challenges current methods and bridges the divide between businesses and the consumer is exactly how HRI helps build prosperous businesses, advance the green industry and fulfill its core vision.

“HRI has new research priorities in place—to quantify plant benefits, encourage innovative solutions, better understand consumer preferences and provide practical solutions. These will help shape what projects HRI funds starting this year,” said Gary Knosher, HRI President. “I continue to be amazed by the industry’s support of HRI’s mission and initiatives. Thank you to all in the industry who contribute!”

The 2020 research projects are: 

• Commercial production of hickories (Dr. N. Bassuk, Cornell University)
• Benefits or features: Which cue is more effective on retail signs? 
(Dr. B. Behe, Michigan State University) 
• Finding the ‘Third Space’ through gardening: Strengthening relationship mutuality and lowering stress in the caregiver and care recipient who has a disabling injury or illness (Dr. A. Catlin, Kaiser Permanente Rehabilitation Center)
• Fundamental aspects of auxin foliar spray applications to woody plant cuttings (Dr. R. Geneve, University of Kentucky)
• Enhancing the performance of SSG as a biocontrol agent for ornamental plant disease mitigation (Dr. P. Kong, Virginia Tech)
• Developing environmental and cultural protocols for the production of containerized succulents in greenhouses and nurseries 
(Dr. R. Lopez, Michigan State University)
• A sustainable approach to Phytophthora-infested landscape beds: the search for tolerant or resistant annuals and herbaceous perennials (Dr. I. Meadows; North Carolina State University)
• Using Grow Wise, Bee Smart and Oregon Bee Project Plant Picks to promote pollinator-attractive nursery plants in Oregon 
(Dr. A. Melathopoulos, Oregon State University)
• Automation in container nursery weed control (Dr. J. Neal, North Carolina State University) 
• In defense of nativars: Comparing the conservation value of native milkweed cultivars and straight species for monarch butterflies, bees, and other pollinators in small gardens (Dr. D. Potter, University of Kentucky)
• Biocontrol agents for the vector of rose rosette virus (Dr. I. Tzanetakis, University of Arkansas) GT