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April 23, 2013

Climbing trees isn't just for kids — just ask David Leinbach, a senior teaching assistant for a climbing class offered as part of Penn State's Arboriculture minor. Not Out on a Limb: Landscaping student just loves his field "There's nothing better than getting up and saying, 'I'm going to go climb trees for class.' And anybody can take it, that's the best part," he said. "You're probably up about 60 feet when we climb the tall trees. You walk out to the tip of the branch, hopping from limb to limb. It's a lot of fun." Two summers ago, Leinbach interned with Bartlett Tree Experts in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. He started out as a groundsman, dragging brush and pruning, but soon got more involved. "I got into climbing, using chainsaws and regular handsaws in the trees. I had a blast, and now I have my own climbing gear."

April 23, 2013

Grace Garbini helped plant more than 5,000 trees in the summer of 2012. As part of a Rutgers University research project on hazelnut breeding, she was tasked with transplanting and inoculating hazelnut saplings to test their resistance to fungal infections. Because hazelnut trees can be both productive and highly resistant to disease, they offer researchers an opportunity to identify DNA linked to disease-resistant traits. The goal of the research is to breed highly productive trees that are disease resistant. "Two of my Penn State professors had worked at Rutgers in the past," explained Garbini, a Horticulture major with minors in Biology, French and International Agriculture. "They contacted their associates and helped me find an internship in a field I was interested in."

March 27, 2013

Most of us remember learning about ROY G. BIV when we were kids — the acronym for the sequence of colors in a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. But Devan Burns put her knowledge of the rainbow to use last summer. The fourth-year horticulture major (business/production option) at Penn State interned with the owner of the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. The facility allows the public to experiment with the process of creating art. It provides a studio, equipment and expert technicians to help artists work with fabric and other types of innovative material and media. It also is recognized as a contemporary art museum.

Andrew Haverstick on the scenic Irish coast.
February 5, 2013

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.

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.