Horticultural Trials: Balancing Academic Goals with Industry Support

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602

The horticulture research gardens at the Univ. of Georgia were initiated in 1983, and have significantly evolved in visibility and functionality. The gardens were designed to act as a research evaluation site for the industry, but also to be used as a teaching tool for classroom, and to encourage student experience in landscape plant maintenance. Performance evaluation is accomplished by gathering data every 2 weeks, and performance plots are drawn for each taxon at the end of the season. Data on performance of perennial plants are also recorded, and each taxa is summarized after its flowering period. All data is compiled, simplified, and disseminated by booklet, trade magazine papers, and the Internet. In the last 7 years, a major cornerstone of the garden has become the evaluation and introduction of new crops for the ornamental plant industry. At least a dozen new taxa have been introduced. New crop introduction programs will be discussed as a potential means of funding. The ability to initially raise funds for horticultural trials the maintenance of funding over the years will also be discussed.

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