Feb 17, 2022
HRI Announces Funded Research Projects for ’22

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), the foundation of AmericanHort, has announced the portfolio of research projects receiving 2022 funding.

Projects reflect HRI’s research priority areas of quantifying plant benefits, creating innovative solutions, gathering consumer insights, and producing practical and actionable solutions. HRI is providing a total of $417,039 in financial support this year.

“Now celebrating its 60th year, HRI is more relevant to the success of the horticultural industry than ever before,” said Alan Jones (Manor View Farm, Monkton, MD), HRI president. “The projects selected for 2022 funding represent a diverse selection of research topics showcasing ‘The Power of Plants.’  To date, HRI has supported $9.5 million in research grants and scholarships and looks forward to expanded funding as the endowment continues to grow.”

The Horticultural Research Institute’s mission is to direct, fund, promote and communicate horticulture research. Supporting research that challenges current methods and bridges the divide between businesses and the consumer is exactly how HRI helps build prosperous businesses, advance the green industry and fulfill its core vision.

“HRI supports projects where the outcomes impact the bottom line for industry businesses,” said Jennifer Gray, HRI administrator. “The projects selected for funding encourage innovative solutions, provide practical application, and will garner valuable information companies can use to grow their businesses.”

The funded projects include:


  • Measuring the Benefits of Plants: Improved Cardiovascular Health and Well-being from Visual Exposure to Plants – J. Hollander, Tufts University


  • Creation of emerald ash borer-resistant “lingering ash” cultivars for restoration of ash as landscape and street trees – S. Merkle, University of Georgia
  • Stimulating adventitious root formation in recalcitrant woody plants with Agrobacterium rhizogenes – H. Liang, Clemson University
  • Tulipalins: A Natural Fungicide for Greenhouse Hydrangeas from a Tulip Bulb Waste Stream – T. Gianfagna, Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey


  • Enhancing Marketplace Acceptance of Native Plants – A. Rihn, University of Tennessee
  • Images of People or Plants: Which Sells More Plants? – B. Behe, Michigan State University; J. Mundel, Arizona State University


  • Improved Irrigation Efficiency Through Modeling and Spatial Distribution Analysis – P. Bartley, Auburn University
  • Improving Water Management in Pine Bark Substrates via Pore Size Characterization and Infiltration Testing – R. Stewart, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Management Options for Jumping Worms in Private & Commercial Landscapes and Natural Areas – E. Buchholz, University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
  • Periodical Cicada: Study of potential controls for the Tennessee Nursery Industry – D. Airhart, Tennessee Technological University
  • Preliminary study on the parasitoid complex of the box tree moth in Asia for a classical biological control program in North America – M. Kenis, CABI
  • Preventing disease outbreaks in ornamental nurseries: Determining most effective diagnostics tools and developing a rapid diagnostics test for Phytophthora species infecting ornamental crops – J. Del Castillo, University of California Davis
  • Soil Microbiomes for Plant Health: Exploring microbes in the soil for candidates that protect plants against root rot disease caused by Phytophthora cinnamomic – J. Burns, Case Western Reserve University