Nursery Research Initiative Supports Invasive Plant Solutions

The American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and the United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) have guided major new funding toward an innovative research project to find strategic solutions to the invasive plant problems many states are experiencing. With some calling for reactive restrictions like invasive plant bans, the project approaches the problem proactively, through breeding for non-invasive traits.

Leading investigators are Drs. Thomas Ranney, North Carolina State University; Steven Strauss, Oregon State University; and Margaret Pooler, United States National Arboretum. The research team will collaborate on novel breeding techniques to address invasiveness, improve pest resistance, environmental stress tolerance, and commercial potential of several important tree and shrub crops. Other benefits from reducing fertility include the elimination of nuisance fruit, reduction in pollen-induced allergies, and improved flowering and re-blooming characteristics.

ANLA and USDA-ARS partner to obtain and guide federal research dollars for critical industry research needs. This research is funded through the USDA-Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI). The research project received initial funding of $150,000 in 2003 and will receive a total of $468,750 this year.

The FNRI focuses on improvements in three essential research areas: environmental and resource management; pest management; and production systems and strategies. FNRI research funding now totals $6 million for leading research that is vital to the future of the green industry.

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