The overall objective of this research is to use beneficial bacteria and fungi to improve medicinal and aromatic plant yields quantitatively and qualitatively. Specific objectives are:
Stockbridge School of Agriculture
A primary issue of concern with biofuels and bio-products is the ability to produce enough feedstock oils without displacing food crops. Plant seed oils have tremendous potential as environmentally, economically and technologically feasible replacements for petroleum, but the relatively low oil yields from existing crops limits the commercial viability of seed oil based biofuels.
Experiments will be conducted with a number of herbaceous and woody plant species to gain an understanding of plant water and fertilizer requirements. Irrigation will be applied via soil moisture sensor controlled automated irrigation to precisely apply water to 1) understand the impact of water on plant growth and 2) to be able to quantify the amount of water being applied. Fertilizer requirements will be assessed by evaluating plant growth with variable applications of common controlled release fertilizers common in ornamental plant production.
Well-maintained, healthy turfgrass provides many environmental and social benefits. However, multifaceted programs such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) are needed to withstand the constant challenges by abiotic and biotic stressors year around. Integrated pest management is a comprehensive approach that brings together various cultural and chemical pest control methods to manage insects, plant diseases (mainly fungi), and weeds.
We will evaluate the influence of rootstocks on temperate-zone fruit tree characteristics grown under varying environments using sustainable management systems. This will help allow us to better assess the impacts of biotic and abiotic stresses on scion/rootstockcombinations in temperate zone fruit trees and to enhance the sustainability of temperate fruit farming through development and distribution of research based information utilizing eXtension.
Improving water management is of increasing importance in horticultural operations. A growing global population and changes in water availability will mean that less water will be available for ornamental plant production. There are also a growing number of federal and state regulations regarding water use and runoff from production areas. Better irrigation and fertilization management practices will help to limit the environmental impact of container plant production by limiting the runoff of water and nutrients from nurseries.
Global climate change affects every aspect of our life. Global warming increases the intensity of drought, which leads to the increase in frequency and severity of forest fires. Beyond being a source of soot and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), severe wildfires/forest fires can damage soils, water quality and quantity, fisheries, plant communities, wildlife habitat, and endangered species; result in economic and property loss; and cause harms to the environment and public health. Forest thinning or prescribed burns reduce the accumulation of hazardous fuels and restore forest health.