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‘Big data’ leads to better trees via $3 million grant

By Seth Truscott, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

Dorrie-Main-webPULLMAN, Wash. – Scientists at Washington State University are harnessing the power of “big data” to help growers create the next generation of healthy, sustainable forests and tree crops. » More …

Biologist climbs high to prove hypothesis about plant phloem

knoblauch-80PETERSHAM, Mass. — Michael Knoblauch, a plant cell biologist at Washington State University, is in the stretch run of a 20-year quest to prove a longstanding hypothesis that what drives the flow of nutrients in phloem is pressure differential. » More …

Wet springs may be affecting ponderosa pine health

By Rachel Webber, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

foliar-pathogens-80SPOKANE, Wash. – What’s wrong with my ponderosa pine trees? Are they dying? Why are the needles turning brown and reddish? Forestry experts have received several inquiries about ponderosa pine tree health this spring, so if you’re asking these questions, you are not alone. » More …

Smell may discourage people from cutting trees

PULLMAN — The WSU Facilities Operations Grounds Department is spraying skunk spray on the evergreen trees on the Pullman campus.

This is done every year to discourage people from cutting down campus evergreens to be used as Christmas trees.  The skunk smell is not very noticeable when it is cold outside, but when the tree is taken into a warm house it becomes very noticeable, said Kappy Brun, grounds supervisor for Facilities Operations.

The number of campus trees cut down to be used during the holiday season varies from year to year, and despite the skunk spray, the grounds department usually finds a … » More …

Lab detects pests, trains young scientists

 

As genomics research unravels some of life’s complexities, laboratories like the new molecular lab at WSU Puyallup applies that knowledge to real-world problems.

 

For molecular geneticist Katie Coats, that means working with the WSDA and WSU Puyallup plant pathologist Gary Chastagner to understand the genetics of the exotic plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, the cause of sudden oak death. This fungus-like pathogen has killed more than a million oak trees in California and has been found in a number of Puget Sound nurseries. If uncontrolled, this pathogen can spread through air and water to other trees and plants in nurseries and into surrounding … » More …

Xeriscaping: Untap your landscape


Photo: Flagstone pavers and drought-tolerant plants help make this front yard area water wise. (Photo courtesy of Tonie Fitzgerald).

There is more to landscaping than pretty plants. Sustainable park design, drought-tolerant trees and proper watering to prevent turf diseases are just a few of the topics that will be addressed at this year’s WSU Turf, Tree and Landscape conference. 

More than 400 people from Washington, Idaho, Montana and other locations are expected to attend.

The conference, Feb. 7-8 at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, will focus on the importance of water … » More …