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PLNA e-News: Plants, Pests & Diseases

Penn State Receives HRI Grant for Boxwood Blight Research

Wednesday, February 26, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
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Boxwood BlightUNIVERSITY 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 Landfilled

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 state.

If composting cannot neutralize the pathogen, then an alternative method for disposing of diseased boxwoods must be found.

USDA Grant

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.

Horticulture Research Institute

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.

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