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Robert Berghage, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor of Horticulture
Robert Berghage, Ph.D.
318B Tyson Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802
Email:
Work Phone: 814-863-2190

Education

  1. PhD., Horticulture, Michigan State University, 1989
  2. M.S., Horticulture, Michigan State University, 1986
  3. B.S., Botany, University of Michigan, 1980

Extension Education Programs:

  • Cultivar performance evaluations and selection for commercial producers and home gardeners: As Director of the Penn State Horticultural Trial Garden I coordinate and manage one of the premier annual and perennial flowering plant cultivar performance evaluation programs in the United States. Each year the results from evaluations of 600 - 1000 new and established cultivars are compiled and published in several major written reports, as well as in many summaries for trade magazines, newsletters and bulletins. Summaries are presented at various grower, extension and garden club meetings in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. In surveys of commercial growers participating in the program, many have indicated that it is critical in their cultivar selection decisions.
  • Greenhouse crop management and integrated pest management: Integrated crop management including integrated pest management are critical for the continued profitability of Pennsylvania greenhouse's. We have developed and promoted IPM programs through the Penn State cooperative extension service in a variety of traditional and new approaches. One of the unique developments in the PA program has been the formation of a greenhouse crop management association. The crop management association has been very successful and this program is now focused on providing resources and support for the development of additional crop management associations throughout the state.
  • Greenhouse water management and water treatment: Greenhouses throughout the United States have come under increased pressure to reduce waste water production and discharge. We have developed and conducted extension education programs to assist growers in better managing their water and fertilizer use. Educational programs have focused on training growers to routinely measure and record pH and soluble salts as a part of their overall crop management program.
    Greenhouse crop production and environmental control systems: We have developed and conducted a variety of programs to improve greenhouse crop production. These programs are developed in response to, and in coordination with commercial greenhouse producers. Recent programs have included perennial plant scheduling and forcing and plant height control using chemical and non-chemical means.

Research Interests:

  • Phytoremediation and bioremediation for greenhouse waste and irrigation water: Greenhouses throughout the United States have come under increased pressure to reduce waste water production and discharge. One response has been to develop recirculating irrigation systems where waste water is captured, stored and reused. These systems have the potential to become contaminated through routine greenhouse chemical use. We have demonstrated the potential for contamination with the fungicide metalaxyl through normal use. This low level contamination may result in development of resistance, as has been reported in several greenhouses. We are investigating the use of bioremediation including phytoremediation to remove low level fungicide contamination from recirculating irrigation systems. Other potential contaminants we are investigating include plant growth regulators, where contamination could result in residual carryover from one crop to the next. Investigations include fundamental research directed at uncovering the basis for the often observed improved bioremediation in constructed wetland biofilters containing higher plants, and the basic mechanisms of phytoremediation of hydrocarbons.
  • Flowering herbaceous plant landscape establishment, field performance, and consumer preferences: Commercial growers and home gardeners face a bewildering number of cultivars from which to choose. This ongoing research program is aimed at providing non-baised comparative evaluations of many of these cultivars. The program includes annual evaluation of 600-1000 cultivars of annual and perennial plants in the field. Trials are conducted in two locations (University Park, PA and Landisville, PA). Evaluations of many cultivars also include greenhouse performance and or consumer preference polling.
  • Greenhouse crop production and management systems: Controlled and modified environments offer many opportunities for optimizing crop production. To optimize greenhouse crop production it is necessary to understand basic responses of plants to the greenhouse environment. Research in this area includes basic plant water use and management studies, plant growth and development patterns, responses to light, and structure and chemical treatments for paper and plastic pots including copper and fungicides.

Recent Publications:

  • Berghage, R.D. 1996. How tall is too tall and how to tell: A primer in plant height management. Pennsylvania Flower Growers Bulletin. 436:1-3.
  • Berghage, R.D. 1996. Perennials for cut flowers. Pennsylvania Flower Growers Bulletin. 434:1-4.
  • Berghage, R.D. 1996. From a Prof.'s desk: Best of the University Park Trials. Pennsylvania Flower Growers Bulletin. 437:3.
  • Berghage, R.D. and A. Michael. 1996. Crop management and the professional scout. Ohio Florists Association Bulletin. 805:1, 8-10.
  • Berghage, R.D. 1996. The best of the 1996 trials. Horticulture Trial Gardens Newsletter. 2(3):1-2
  • Berghage, R.D. 1996. Propagation Primer. Horticulture Trial Gardens Newsletter. 2(1):1
  • Berghage, R.D. 1996. Propagation Primer - Plants from cuttings. Horticulture Trial Gardens Newsletter. 2(2):1
  • Berghage, R.D. 1996. From a Prof's Desk. Pennsylvania Flower Growers Bulletin. 438:4-5
  • Berghage, R.D. 1996. Growing Trends. GMPro. 15(1)
  • Berghage, R.D. 1996. Growing Trends. GMPro. 15(4)
  • Berghage, R.D. 1996. Growing Trends. GMPro. 15(7)
  • Berghage, R.D. 1996. Growing Trends. GMPro. 15(10)
  • Berghage, R.D. 1995. The three R's for greenhouse water use: Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Ohio Florists Association Bulletin. 784: 1, 11-13.
  • Berghage, R.D. 1995. The three R's for greenhouse water use: Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Georgia Flower Growers Bulletin 5(6):14-15.
  • Berghage, R.D. and N.K. Lownds. 1994. Growing under glass in New Mexico. New Mexico Journal of Science. 34:71-74.
  • Berghage, R.D., R. Schoenmackers, and J.C. Witcher. 1993. Geothermal energy: The heat is on. Greenhouse Grower 11(6):66-68.
  • Berghage, R.D. and R.D. Heins. 1991 Quantification of temperature effects on stem elongation in poinsettia. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 116(1):14-18.
  • Berghage, R.D. and N.K. Lownds. 1991 Using writing in horticultural education. HortTechnology 1(1):124-126.
  • Whittier, J., B. Maier, C.L. Fischer, A. Uhl, and R.D. Berghage. 1991. Comparative performance analysis: Commercial plug production. NMRDI 2-79-5203, Santa Fe, NM.
  • Whittier, J., B. Maier, C.L. Fischer, and R.D. Berghage. 1991. Comparative performance analysis: Commercial potted plant production. NMRDI 2-78-5202/IV, Santa Fe, NM.
  • Berghage, R.D. 1990. Poinsettia pinching. Minnesota flower growers bulletin. 40(2):7-11.
  • Berghage, R.D. and N. Lownds. 1990. Temperature makes a DIF-erence on poinsettias. Greenhouse Grower 8(12):32-36.
  • Berghage, R.D., R.D. Heins, and J.E. Erwin. 1990. Quantifying leaf unfolding in the poinsettia. ACTA Hort. 272:243-248.
  • Berghage, R.D., J. Flore, R.D. Heins, and J.E. Erwin. 1990. The relationship between day and night temperature influences photosynthesis but not light compensation point or flower longevity of Easter Lily Lilium longiflorum Thunb. Acta Hort. 272:91-96.
  • Erwin, J.E., R.D. Heins, R.D. Berghage, and B.J. Kovanda. 1990. Temperature effects Schlumbergera truncata 'Madisto' flower initiation. ACTA Hort. 272:97-102
  • Erwin, J.E., R.D. Heins, B.J. Kovanda, and R.D. Berghage. 1990. Thermomorphogenic and photoperiodic responses of Nephrolepsis exalta 'Dallas Jewel'. Acta Hort. 272:249-254
  • Erwin, J., R. Heins, B. Kovanda R. Berghage, and W. Carlson. 1990. Temperature: An effective tool in controlling stem elongation. PPGA News. 10(6).
  • Heins, R., J. Erwin, M. Karlsson, R. Berghage, W. Carlson, and J. Biernbaum. 1990. Tracking Easter lily height with graphs: Easter lily response to temperature during forcing. Minnesota State Florists Bulletin. 39(5):23-25.
  • Holcomb, E.J. C. Lee and R.D. Berghage. 1996. The interaction of DIF and irrigation method on poinsettia. Pennsylvania Flower Growers Bulletin. 437:1-2.
  • Holcomb, E.J. and R.D. Berghage. 1996. From a Prof's Desk. Pennsylvania Flower Growers Bulletin. 436:4
  • Holcomb, E.J. and R.D. Berghage. 1996. From a Prof's Desk. Pennsylvania Flower Growers Bulletin. 435:3-4
  • Holcomb, E.J. and R.D. Berghage. 1996. From a Prof's Desk: It's a matter of perspective and balance. Pennsylvania Flower Growers Bulletin. 434:4
  • Holcomb, E.J. and R.D. Berghage. 1996. From a Prof's Desk. Pennsylvania Flower Growers Bulletin. 433:4
  • Holcomb, E.J. and R.D. Berghage. 1995. From a Prof's Desk. Pennsylvania Flower Growers Bulletin. 432:4
  • Michael, A.H. and R.D. Berghage. 1995. Crop management pays rewards. Pennsylvania Flower Growers Bulletin. 431:1
  • Wall, M, R. Berghage, and C. Wadell. 1994. Modified atmosphere packaging of fresh green chile peppers. Proc. 1994 National Pepper Conf.

Research Interests

Ornamental Horticulture