Latest News

January 16, 2013

Turns out, watching ants is actually pretty entertaining, according to Spencer Malloy. Good thing for him, because it was one of the most important parts of his job last summer. The Penn State senior with a double major in agroecology and philosophy recently completed an internship at the University Park campus investigating how the presence of nematode parasites can affect carpenter ants.

December 20, 2012

A plant may start to prime its defenses as soon as it gets a whiff of a male fly searching for a mate, according to Penn State entomologists. Once tall goldenrod plants smell a sex attractant emitted by true fruit fly males, they appear to prepare chemical defenses that make them less appealing to female flies that could damage the plants by depositing eggs on them, the researchers said.

December 6, 2012

Dr. Kim Steiner, a professor of Forest Biology at Penn State shares information on the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens at Penn State University. Also, Andrew Gapinski the Arboretum at Penn State horticulturist takes Paul Epsom on a tour to show him the plants and trees in this amazing educational garden.

December 6, 2012

Video featuring Dr. Robert Berghage on what you need to grow a successful green roof.

November 29, 2012

Twelve students in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences recently discovered some of Ireland's greatest natural treasures in a two-credit course that included a nine-day trip. The students were exposed to different cultural practices and technologies while increasing their awareness and respect for diverse cultures. Beginning in one of the liveliest capitals in Europe, the students explored Dublin, pondering the cultural differences between Ireland and the United States. From there, they traveled to the Hill of Tara to see where the High Kings of Ireland reigned and to explore huge circles of earthworks. During the trip, the students visited botanical gardens, the Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle Peninsula, the beautiful Muckross Gardens, the church ruins at the Rock of Cashel, the National Irish Stud and the Powerscourt Gardens.

About 70% of chocolate in the world comes from West Africa
November 9, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- With the help of information technology (IT), Penn State professor Mark Guiltinan makes the world a sweeter place. Guiltinan is a professor of plant molecular biology in the Department of Horticulture in the College of Agricultural Sciences. He currently runs the Guiltinan Lab, where he studies crop improvement and sustainable farming methods. Guiltinan was a key player in The International Cocoa Genome Sequencing Consortium, a worldwide effort to sequence and analyze the genome of the Criollo variety of the Theobromo cacao plant, the key ingredient in high-quality chocolate. Using genome sequencing programs and computer clusters at Penn State and abroad, Guiltinan and his colleagues have mapped the cacao genome and are working to breed better, more disease-resistant cacao plants. Despite the incredible popularity of chocolate, the cacao plant is surprisingly difficult to grow. About 70 percent of the world’s chocolate comes from West Africa, where cacao farmers often live in poverty and operate small farms. The highest quality chocolate comes from the Criollo variety of the cocoa plant, a crop that is highly susceptible to disease. An outbreak of disease among these cacao plants can destroy the lives of the farmers and their local economies.

October 3, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Water features will be the star of the 99th annual Penn State Horticulture Show, Oct. 6 and 7. Presented by students in the College of Agricultural Sciences, the show will be held in the Snider Agricultural Arena, diagonally across Park Avenue from Beaver Stadium on the University Park campus. "Exploring Water in Nature" is the theme of the free event, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There is a home football game on Saturday. For nearly a century, the college's Horticulture Club has put together an annual show that allows visitors the opportunity to explore various aspects of horticulture. The purpose of the show is to engage students in designing, constructing and operating an event that will attract and educate the public about plants and landscaping.

September 5, 2012

Organic nutrient sources, such as compost, shown here, often do not supply the correct ratio of nutrients needed by plants. Organic farmers can access educational workshops and materials on nutrient management, thanks to a program developed by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Elsa Sánchez, associate professor of horticultural systems management, and Heather Karsten, associate professor of crop production and ecology, described their program in a journal article that received the American Society for Horticultural Science Outstanding Extension Publication Award for papers published in 2011. They will be recognized at the ASHS Annual Conference in July.

August 30, 2012

Drs. Don Davis and Dennis Decoteau have received two grants totaling $539,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Air Quality, to monitor ambient ground-level ozone in the Marcellus Shale natural gas areas of PA and study impacts of ozone on PA vegetation.

Horticulture major Jessica Foster examines hydroponically grown tomatoes in Arizona.
August 10, 2012

After spending five days this spring studying aquaponics at the University of Arizona, College of Agricultural Sciences student Jessica Foster and greenhouse manager Scott DiLoreto are developing the first aquaponic system at Penn State.

April 6, 2012

Penn State team Places 11th in 2012 PLANET Student Career Days.

April 4, 2012

Amy Hinkle had her first entrepreneurial encounter with flowers when she was 11 years old, selling them at her local farmers market in Columbus, Ohio. When she was 9 years old, her family started selling goods from their produce farm at that market. Hinkle noticed that only one other person there sold flowers -- and he could not keep up with the demand. By the time she graduated from high school, her family's stand was selling about 20 different kinds of field-grown annuals. Hinkle, a senior horticulture major with a business production focus, came to Penn State because of its strong agriculture program, and because it was far away from her home.

February 14, 2012

Over-reliance on glyphosate-type herbicides for weed control on U.S. farms has created a dramatic increase in the number of genetically-resistant weeds, according to a team of agricultural researchers, who say the solution lies in an integrated weed management program.

February 7, 2012

It may seem early, but now is the time to pick the tomato varieties you want to grow in your garden this summer, according to an expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. You may have noticed that your seed catalogs showed up earlier than ever this winter, noted Steve Bogash, Penn State Extension horticulture educator based in Franklin County. "With the rapid growth in vegetable gardening, demand promises to be higher than ever," he said. "If there are specific varieties of vegetables that you truly want for the coming season, you may want to get your orders in early."

January 10, 2012

With the defending National Football League champion Green Bay Packers having another great season and securing home-field advantage in the NFL's upcoming playoffs, millions of people will by looking at Allen Johnson's work when they watch the games. No doubt the fields manager of famous Lambeau Field will have the playing surface in top shape when the Packers host their first playoff game, and he will employ expertise he gained from Penn State in the process. He is a graduate of the University's Advanced Turfgrass Management Certificate Program.

December 13, 2011

High tunnels offer an inexpensive way to extend the production season for vegetables and small fruits. They also might help eradicate a "food desert" in the southeast corner of the Keystone State, if a collaboration between Penn State Extension and community partners in Philadelphia is successful.

November 29, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers fan George Peters scored the internship of a lifetime -- in enemy territory. The turfgrass science major in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences interned at Lincoln Financial Field with the Philadelphia Eagles grounds crew. Peters, from Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa., has been interested in sports-turf management since high school and relished the opportunity to get hands-on experience.

November 22, 2011

The challenge of weeds that have become resistant to glyphosate -- the active ingredient in Round-Up herbicide -- has become an evolving national threat, with new challenges emerging and spreading annually. At least three glyphosate-resistant species on the horizon for Pennsylvania require new strategies to combat them, according to a specialist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Penn State Extension weed scientist Dwight Lingenfelter said several resistant species currently are approaching Pennsylvania. These weeds were controlled routinely over the years with glyphosate-based herbicide programs, but now the effectiveness of those programs is dwindling.

November 11, 2011

Penn State's Board of Trustees today (Nov. 11) approved a plan submitted by the College of Agricultural Sciences to restructure the college's academic departments, reducing their number from 12 to nine. The new structure formally will take effect July 1, 2012.

October 31, 2011

Researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences have been awarded a $2.3 million grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate how certain cover crops and rotations can improve production of organic commodities. The study's goal is to determine whether diverse cover crop mixtures -- as opposed to a single-species cover cropping -- can enhance ecosystem functions in a corn-soybean-wheat cash crop rotation that produces organic feed and forage, according to project leader Jason Kaye, associate professor of soil biogeochemistry.