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HRI Contributions

The Western Nursery and Landscape Association originally contributed $25,000 to the Horticulture Research Institute (HRI) in 1991 to establish a WNLA Endowment Fund grant. The fund's corpus is now at $42,900.

To request an application or for more information, check out the Horticultural Research Institute here.

Since 1991, funding has been provided from the Fund to support these projects:


Use of Subirrigation to Replace Mist and Improve Propagation of Trees and Shrubs from Softwood Cuttings;
Dr. William Graves & Mr. Keith Warren


Marketing to Retailers: How Midwestern Wholesale Nurseries Can Better Serve Their Retail Clients;
Dr. William Graves, Dr. C L Haynes, Dr. Jeffrey Iles & Dr. Kenneth Stone


Consumer Attitudes Towards Product Assortments, Displays, and Personnel in Retail Garden Centers;
Dr. Raymond Marquardt


Development of Stress-resistant Nursery Crops by Altering Glutathione Expression; Dr. Michael Chaplin & Dr. William Graves


Reducing Mortality of Cornus florida in Midwest Landscapes; Mr. George Chippen & Dr. Christopher Starbuck

2000, 2001 & 2003

Plant Pathogen Management in Recycling Irrigation Systems; Dr. Sharon von Broembsen & Dr. Russell Wright


Development and Evaluation of Techniques for Management of Sclerotium rolfsii Crown Rot of Hosta; Dr. Edward Braun, Dr. Michael Chaplin, Dr. Mark Gleason & Dr. Jeffrey Iles


Development of New Landscape Plants for all Regions of North America; Ms. Sarah Doane; Dr. Rita Hummel; Dr. Harold Pellett; Mr. Peter Podaras


Selecting a Drought Tolerant Sugar Maple Rootstock; Dr. Jason Griffin


A Better Auxin for Propagating Trees and Shrubs; Dr. William Graves & Dr. Jyotsna Sharma


Continued Development of Bioplastics for the Green Industry; Dr. William Graves & Mr. David Grewell


Evaluation and Commercialization of Bioplastic Pots; Dr. William Graves


Development of Alternative Container Substrates; Dr. Cheryl Boyer, Dr. Glenn Fain, Dr. Charles Gilliam & Dr. Jeff Sibley


On-Site Demonstration of Alternative Substrates at Nurseries Across the Southeast U.S.; Dr. Cheryl Boyer, Dr. Glenn Fain, Dr. Thomas Gallagher; Dr. Charles Gilliam; Dr. Allen Torbert


Evaluation of the Factors Affecting the Development of a Sustainable Substrate Operation; Dr. Glenn Fain, Dr. Thomas Gallagher, Dr. Charles Gilliam, Ms. Anna-Marie Murphy, Dr. Jeff Sibley, Dr. Allen Torbert


The Role of Plant Brands in Consumer Preferences for Plants and their Perceptions of Plant Quality; Dr. Bridget Behe
Final Report

Assessment of National and Regional Trends in Production and Marketing Practices in the US Nursery and Greenhouse Industry; Dr. Alan Hodges


Fate of Substrate-Applied Neonicotinoids in Container Substrates for Commercial Nursery crop Production.

  • Dr. John Adamczyk, Jr. of the USDA-ARS Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, MS, will research the “Fate of Substrate-applied Neonicotinoids in Container Substrates for Commercial Nursery Crop Production.” Dr. Adamczyk will attempt to quantify neonicotinoid leaching in pine bark and whole pine tree substrates, the absorption of neonicotinoids in crops grown in pine bark and pine tree residual substrates under drip irrigation, and plant absorption of neonicotinoids in crops grown in pine bark and whole pine tree substrates under overhead irrigation.
    Final Report


Dr. Raul Cabrera at the Rutgers University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Bridgeton, NJ, is studying the “Use of Alternative Irrigation Water Sources for Urban Landscapes and Nursery Crops.”

  • Water availability and quality, and their management, are essential issues to the sustainability of the green industry. New regulations on water usage throughout North America mean that horticultural businesses need to consider the impending use of alternative and poor-quality irrigation sources and the BMPs that can lead to their successful and sustainable use while minimizing undesirable impacts to the surrounding environment. This project will evaluate the long-term effects of “gray water” irrigation on landscape plants and soils, while generating practical information to allow ornamental growers and landscape managers to effectively use and manage alternative irrigation water sources in their operations, sustain productivity and quality, and minimize undesirable effects.

Dr. Mengmeng Gu at Texas A&M in College Station will lead a project that aims to “Manage Crape Myrtle Bark Scale, An Exotic Pest.”

  • This project will address a relatively new Eriococcid pest of crape myrtle, crape myrtle bark scale (CMBS), Eriococcus lagerstroemiae from Asia. Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.) is a very popular landscape plant, with economic impacts for all segments of the green industry, including wholesale and retail nurseries, landscape professionals, and the end consumers. This project will investigate the effectiveness of a monitoring strategy and determine the efficacy of various control strategies (mechanical & chemical) to control CMBS.


Dr. K. Umeda, University of Arizona: "New groundcover and native grass species when replacing turfgrass."

  • This project will evaluate ten (10) grass species and two (2) ground covers as low input turf alternatives where traditional turfgrass has been removed from native areas on golf courses.

Dr. R. Geneve, University of Kentucky: "Developing a modified hydroponic stock plant system for mini-cuttings of difficult-to-root nursery crops."

  • This project will compare plant vigor and root system development the production of mini-cuttings through a modified hydroponic system with traditional cuttings using eastern redbud as a model system.

Dr. F. Baysal-Gurel, Tennessee State University: "Improved sanitation/hygiene practices in nursery crop production."

  • This project aims to address plant disease management through the use of improved sanitation and hygiene practices.


Dr. P. Kong, Virginia Tech: "Identification and Development of Plant Endophytes for Biocontrol of Boxwood Blight"

  • Boxwood blight, caused by Calonectria pseudonaviculata, is a huge concern in the nursery and landscape management industries. Control options are currently limited to a handful of fungicides. Naturally, biocontrols are being sought as well, and some bacterial endophytes (organisms that spend at least part of their life in plant roots) have been identified that show potential to reduce C. pseudonaviculata in culture. A team led by Dr. Kong will further evaluate these endophytes for real world applicability.

Dr. J. LaMondia, Connecticut Ag Experiment Station: "Boxwood Blight Management in the Landscape"

  • Historic gardens and home and commercial landscapes alike fear invasion of boxwood blight. Once plants are infected, the current recommendation calls for plant removal and destruction, followed by a rigorous fungicide program to protect any adjacent, symptom-free boxwoods. Dr. LaMondia plans to focus specifically on management of boxwood blight in landscapes with various fungicides.

Dr. I. Meadows, North Carolina State University: "A sustainable approach to Phytophthora-infested landscape beds: the search for tolerant or resistant annuals and herbaceous perennials"

  • Phytophthora root rot and stem blight affects over 100 of the most popular and most commonly used landscape perennials and annuals, including annual vinca, petunia, and daylily, throughout the US. Current recommendations for infested landscape beds are either impractical or not economically feasible for landscapers and homeowners. Previous research has given hope of reducing inoculum through the use of crop rotation with resistant plants. Dr. Meadows will identify suitable landscape plants to be used in crop rotation.

Dr. L. Oki, University of California - Davis: "A System Nitrogen Balance for Container Plant Production"

  • As water resources become more valuable, efforts increase to maintain water quality. Nitrogen management plans represent a relatively new strategy to curb contamination of groundwater and are being enacted in certain, regional areas. Often the nitrogen management plans are factored around agricultural commodities, such as grapes; however, these plans are more challenging to develop for nursery production. This project will assess the fate of nitrogen applied in production and then identify BMP’s to prevent environmentally harmful nitrogen discharge.
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Western Nursery & Landscape Association
P.O. Box 411747 Kansas City, MO 64141