Penn State Receives HRI Grant for Boxwood Blight Research
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
UNIVERSITY PARK – Researchers at Penn State have received a
$9,000 grant from the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) to begin work on a
research project to determine whether the pathogen that causes boxwood blight
can be safely neutralized by composting.
PLNA identified this problem and has been working with Penn
State, HRI and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to conduct research
to find the answer.
Yard Waste Can’t Be
Current law in Pennsylvania prevents yard waste from going
to sanitary landfills and most is now transported to municipal or private
sector composting facilities. The fear is that compost could be contaminated by
diseased boxwoods and become a way of spreading the disease throughout the
If composting cannot neutralize the pathogen, then an
alternative method for disposing of diseased boxwoods must be found.
Penn State is also awaiting word from USDA on a grant to
support further research on the problem. That funding was approved in the 2014
Farm Bill recently signed into law by President Obama.
HRI is the research foundation of AmericanHort. Three PLNA members
currently serve on the board of HRI: Bill D. Wells, Jr. of Water Crest Farms, Inc.;
Steve Castorani of North Creek Nurseries, Inc.; and Stephen L. Mostardi of Mostardi
Nursery & Greenhouse, Inc.