Master Gardeners from the classes of 2012 and 2013 participated in a day long event at the UConn Plant Science Research Facility in Storrsn one of the few pleasant sunny days in early July. They were welcomed by CANR Dean Greg Weidemann and Dr Richard Mcavoy head of the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Steve Olsen manager of the Research Facility also greeted the participants and shared his great Down East Maine story about ubiquitous Master Gardeners.
The program highlighted the UConn research programs that are ongoing at the facility. The day’s events included:
A presentation by Ornamental Horticulture Professor Julia Kuzovkina on her shrub willow research, plants that are being grown and harvested for use as biofuel and also used ornamentally for living play and landscape structures.
Jessica Lubell, Assistant Professor of Horticulture discussed her applied research to optimize propagation and production of novel native shrub species, and their landscape applications. Jess took class participants on a tour of many of these promising species and talked about how many of these native plants are good substitutes for our problematic invasive plants.
IPM – Extension Specialist Donna Ellis lead a walk around the research farm identifying invasive species in the landscape, and presented information on interesting biocontrol methods and other IPM techniques.
Post Doctoral Fellow Chandra Thammina presented his research on mutated perennial ryegrasses. Of particular interest are the grasses with abundant root growth that also exhibit short blade growth patterns which of course means possibly not so much mowing and the shade tolerant mutant ryegrass that tolerates shade where others will not grow. Chandra took class participants to his field research plots and showed them these new grasses.
PhD candidate Piyumi Obeysekara who works with Assistant Extension Professor Ana Legrand discussed her research on how plants influence the activity of Tiphia the parasitic wasps of white grubs.
Plant propagator Greg Tormey took folks on a tour of the interesting and diverse plant selections found in the Burr Nursery at the Research Farm. In the afternoon Greg took a hay wagon full of Master Gardeners on a ride to and tour of the Waxman Conifer Collection.
During the lunch break on this action packed day Kathy Baechle, Lynne Tucker Warren and Diane Ostheimer board members of CMGA, the Connecticut Master Gardener Association scooped UConn ice cream for the tour participants.