News Archive:

Horticultre Club Wins 'Best Group' at 2015 Homecoming Parade

MSU Team Places 2nd Overall in 2015 PLANET Student Career Days

Congratulations to members of Horticulture Club that represented MSU at PLANET (Professional Landcare Network) Student Career Days hosted by North Carolina State University. The four-day event consisted of educational workshops, a career fair, and 28 competitive events which have been termed the Landscape Olympics. Team members competed against nearly 800 students representing 65 colleges and universities from across the United States and Canada. MSU once again made a strong showing finishing in second place behind Brigham Young University - Idaho.

Click here to read more



'Think Agriculture' Series Features MSU AgTech Alumnus

Tyler Kluck discusses his family's history in the Landscape and Nursery industry, and the benefits of completing the 2-year Landscape & Nursery Management program. Click the photo to watch the video from Michigan Farm Bureau.

Dr. James Hancock Featured on MSU Today

In the 1960s, MSU horticulturist Stanley Johnston, perhaps best known for developing the Red Haven peach, created both the Northland and Bluehaven blueberry varieties. But few MSU plant breeders have been more successful than AgBioResearch scientist James Hancock. A professor of horticulture and recipient of the 2014 MSU Innovation Center Technology Transfer Achievement Award for excellence in applying innovation to create real-world solutions, Hancock developed three of the world's most widely planted Northern Highbush blueberry varieties: Aurora, Draper and Liberty along with several other successful cultivars throughout his three decades at MSU.

See more at:

MSU Alumni Association features Garden Day in LENS program

The Michigan State University Horticulture Gardens and MSU Alumni Association are happy to bring you a preview of Garden Day 2014. First, take those herbs and put them to use! Learn news ways to cook, drink and even decorate using your herbs from Education Coordinator, Jessica Albright. Then discover some imaginative container ideas, and learn how to fill them with colorful foliage, flowers, vegetables and herbs with Annual Trial Garden Manager Daedre Craig.

The was a LIVE streaming event on June 24th. Click here to watch the recording via the LENS archive.

Nicholas Chase - 2014 MSU Student Employee of the Year

Every year student employees in various departments, units and offices at MSU are nominated by their supervisors for the Student Employee of the Year Award. This year the honor went to an outstanding employee here in the Department of Horticulture, Nicholas Chase.

Click here for more information

Horticulture Student Grows Entrepreneurial Spirit on MSU's Campus


Horticulture senior Karri Tomich-Baylis picks tarragon leaves April 23, 2014, in Bailey GREENhouse. Many herbs in the greenhouse are used as tea leaves and are organically grown in Bailey GREENhouse by MSU's Residential Initiative for the Study of the Environment, commonly known as RISE.

Click here to read the full article

Credit: Erin Hampton/The State News


MSU Students Place Third Overall at the 2014 PLANET Student Career Days!

Congratulations to the members of Horticulture Club that represented MSU at PLANET (Professional Landcare Network) Student Career Days held at Colorado State University last week. The four-day event consisted of educational workshops, a career fair, and 28 competitive events which have been termed the Landscape Olympics. Team members competed against 743 students representing 65 colleges and universities from across the United States and Canada. MSU once again made a strong showing finishing in third place behind Brigham Young University - Provo and BYU - Idaho. Fourth place went to the University of Georgia. Other Big Ten schools competing included Penn State (11th), Maryland (16th), Ohio State (44th), Illinois (50th), and Purdue (64th)

Click here for the full story

Weed Science Society of America Announces 2014 Winners in Annual Awards Program

WSSA honored Erin Haramoto, a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University with the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Haramoto's research focuses on weed population dynamics, nitrogen loss and profitability in strip-tilled vegetable systems. She has authored or co-authored 10 publications in refereed journals and has presented her research at 10 conferences. She also has given many extension talks during field days and grower meetings. Haramoto has worked as a teaching assistant and as a guest lecturer on weed management. She now is helping to organize an annual Plant Science Graduate Student Research Symposium.

Governor Snyder Announces the Appointment of Dru Montri

Gov. Rick Snyder announced the appointment of Dru Montri, of Bath, to the Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. The five-member bipartisan board has the responsibility to recommend, and in some cases determine, policy on food, agriculture and rural development issues.

"Dru has a lot of experience working in the food and agriculture industry, and I look forward to the contributions she will make to the commission," Snyder said.

Click here for the full article


MSU Faculty Member Receives Special and Well-Deserved Recognition from MNLA

Dr. Robert Schutzki, associate professor of horticulture and landscape design, was surprised with special recognition from the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) on the evening of January 7 at the 2014 Great Lakes Trade Exposition/Green Industry Leadership and Awards Reception in the Pantlind Ballroom of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. The MNLA recognized Dr. Schutzki for his tireless efforts and numerous contributions to Michigan's Nursery and Landscape Industry through an exemplary career spanning over 30 years. MNLA's executive director Amy Frankmann said, "This was a special recognition that came to fruition through action taken by the MNLA's Board of Directors to commemorate Dr. Schutzki's tenure at MSU, in Michigan, and all that he has contributed to our industry."

Video tribute: 30 Years with Dr. Robert Schutzki


Institute of Agricultural Technology Coordinator Recognized

The Irrigation Foundation has named 11 exemplary students and faculty as winners of the 2013 Irrigation E3 Program. This year's winning class received an all-expenses-paid trip to the Irrigation Show and Education Conference, Nov. 4 - 8, in Austin, Texas.  Our very own Marcus Duck and two of his students were included in these winners.  Click here to read the full article in the IA Times.


Welcoming Our New Graduate Students!

The Department of Horticulture is joined this fall by seven new graduate students: David Corey Noyes, Adam Ingrao, Diep Tran, Fransiska Basundari, Matthew Bedewitz, Ben Mansfield and Shujun Ou.  As part of the Horticulture grad student orientation, the Department sponsored a tour of a cross-section of our Michigan horticultural industries and visits to our Clarksville, Northwest Michigan and Southwest Michigan research centers.  Click the image below to see a full recap of their tour of Michigan.


MSU Horticulture Club Places Third at PLANET Student Career Days!

Michigan State University's landscape team recently returned from Auburn University, where they participated in the 37th Annual Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) Student Career Days from March 7-10. The four-day event consisted of educational workshops, a career fair, and 28 competitive events -- which have been termed the Landscape Olympics. Team members competed against 854 of their peers representing 63 colleges and universities from across the United States and Canada. For the fourth year in a row, MSU again made a strong showing -- finishing in third place overall. (click here for the full article)

Allison Jones Awarded the 2012 HRI Spring Meadow Nursery Scholarship


We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2012 HRI Spring Meadow Nursery Scholarship, Allison Jones of Michigan State University. Ms. Jones is a graduate student pursuing an M.S. in horticulture with an emphasis in marketing. Her particular interest is in the utilization of new technology such as eye-tracking to refine retail merchandising at garden centers.
The Spring Meadow Scholarship is one of several academic scholarships administered by the Horticultural Research Institute. If you know of a student who could benefit from scholarship money, please direct them to the application page. It's not too early to start thinking about that 2013 award! 


Dr. Norm Lownds Honored with National FFA Award

INDIANAPOLIS - Dr. Norman Lownds of East Lansing, MI was recently selected to receive the Honorary American FFA Degree - Other. This award is given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment.

The National FFA Organization works to enhance the lives of youth through agricultural education. Without the efforts of highly dedicated individuals, thousands of young people would not be able to achieve success that, in turn, contributes directly to the overall well-being of the nation. The Honorary American FFA Degree is an opportunity to recognize those who have gone beyond valuable daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students, inspiring confidence in a new generation of agriculturists.

Members of the National FFA Board of Directors approved the nomination. Dr. Lownds will travel to Indianapolis to receive the honor during an onstage presentation at the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo Oct. 24-27, 2012. All recipients will receive a certificate and medal, and their names will be permanently recorded. Attached is a short summary of the contributions leading to the nomination.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 540,739 student members - all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture - as part of 7,489 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The National FFA Organization change to its present name in 1988, in recognition of the growth and diversity of agriculture and agricultural education. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Visit for more information.

Professor Emeritus G. Stanley Howell received “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the American Society for Enology and Viticulture – Eastern Section meeting

G. Stanley Howell, professor emeritus of viticulture and enology at Michigan State University (MSU), is this year’s recipient of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture – Eastern Section (ASEV-ES) Lifetime Achievement award. Professor Howell was honored at the ASEV-ES annual Grand Awards Banquet on July 18, held in Traverse City, MI. Since coming to MSU in 1969, Howell’s contributions to Michigan’s cool climate viticulture and enology industry have been part of its expansion to more than seven times its value in 1969. Michigan has gone from a state that produced dessert wines to one of primarily dry table wine production, in addition to its juice grape industry. Howell’s major emphases included knowing and understanding how various wine grape cultivars handled stresses common in Michigan’s cool climate, finding those cultivars that are compatible, and evaluating the wines created from those cultivars to see they were economically viable. Howell was part of the expansion of educational programs in viticulture and enology that were developed in response to the needs of a growing grape and wine industry, both in Michigan and the Midwest. Courses were developed in grape production, wine production, wine judging and current issues in viticulture and enology, culminating in a certificate of technology from MSU. Post-retirement, Howell continues to assist in the development of viticulture and enology educational courses through the VESTA (Viticulture and Enology Technology and Science Alliance) program. “During his long career at MSU, Stan Howell has contributed a great deal to the understanding, and practice, of cold-climate viticulture, especially as it pertains to Michigan,” said Dave Johnson, senior winemaker at Stone Hill Winery in Missouri. “Perhaps more important, however, is the impact he has made on his students and others who have worked for him. From my first days of graduate study under Dr. Howell… it became clear that he intended to hold his students to a higher standard, where nothing less than one’s best effort was acceptable.” “Stan is well-recognized for his training and education of many students while at MSU,” says Thomas Davenport, retired director of the National Grape Cooperative. “He provided grape growers with the needed tools to improve yields that helped Michigan Concord and Niagara producers achieve profitability.”

Amy Iezzoni Awarded University Distinguished Faculty Status

Dr. Amy Iezzoni, Professor of Horticulture, was recently honored as one of ten faculty members to receive the title of Michigan State University Distinguished Faculty. A formal ceremony was held February 14 in the Wharton Center's Pasant Theater, hosted by President Lou Anna K. Simon, to recognize the 2012 awardees (see additional photos from "backstage"). The winners were honored for their comprehensive and sustained record of scholarly excellence in research and/or creative activities, instruction and outreach.

Amy Iezzoni is a distinguished researcher, plant breeder, teacher, and graduate student mentor. She has dedicated her career to the study and improvement of cherries, an iconic Michigan crop, and is recognized internationally as the leading authority in cherry genetics and genomics. She has collaborated with colleagues around the world to produce a body of literature in comparative genomics, gene mapping, and quantitative trait locus identification and was the driving force in establishing the $14.5 million USDA Rosaceae genome project involving ten U.S. states and eight foreign countries. Her ability to interweave basic and applied research, and recognition by both industry and the scientific community, is one factor that makes Dr. Iezzoni's program so unique and successful. In addition, she has mentored numerous graduate students who have gone on to successful careers in academia, industry and government.

The Horticulture Department is proud to currently count three individuals among the ranks of University Distinguished Faculty (Amy Iezzoni '12, Doug Schemske '10 and Jim Hancock '08), as well as seven emeritus University Distinguished Faculty members (Royal Heins '01, Will Carlson '95, David Dilley '92, Alan Putnam '89, Charles Kesner '87, Stan Ries '78, and John Bukovac '71).

You may view a recording of the entire ceremony, or just the portion devoted to Amy (minutes 23:17 - 24:37) at:

Graduate Academic Conference Winner - Dru Montri

Dru Montri
Horticulture and CARRS Ph.D. candidate, Dru Montri, was one of 17 award-winners at the Graduate Academic Conference on March 30. Her paper was entitled "Sustaining Farmers Markets in Low-income, Urban Areas: Farmers' Attitudes Regarding Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Programs." Only five winners were from CANR. Dru is working with Bridget Behe (HRT) and Kim Chung (CARRS) on her dissertation entitled "Increasing Access of Underserved Populations to the Bounty of Farmer's Markets." Congratulations, Dru!

Congratulations to the 2012 MSU Horticulture PLANET Team!

Congratulations to members of Hort Club that represented MSU at PLANET (Professional Landcare Network) Student Career Days hosted by Kansas State University last week. The four-day event consisted of educational workshops, a career fair, and 28 competitive events which have been termed the Landscape Olympics. Team members competed against over 800 students representing 63 colleges and universities from across the United States and Canada. MSU once again made a strong showing finishing fourth out of the 63 teams in attendance.

Team members included Nick Calderone, Jeff Elshoff, David Erdman, Quinlan Gaul, Jackie Grow, Janelle Hesch, Christina Horrigan, Emily Huening, Drew LeFresne, Sarah Lott, Jamey Martinez, Cody McClellan, Kate McDonald, Chris McKellar, Katie Nickolaus, Zach Robinson, Joe Shear, Drew Somsel, Lauren Tuski, Arianna Wilcox and team coaches Brad Rowe, Marcus Duck, and Tom Fernandez. The team was composed of students from Horticulture, Ag Business Management, History, and the Institute of Agricultural Technology Nursery and Landscape Program.

Top 15 performances in individual events included:

Jeff Elshoff, Irrigation Troubleshooting (1st)
Joe Shear, Small Engine Repair (1st)
Team of Drew LeFresne and Cody McClellan, Hardscape Installation (1st)
Lauren Tuski, Leadership Skills (2nd)
Team of Janelle Hesch, Jamey Martinez, and Cody McClellan, Landscape Plant Installation (2nd)
Team of Christina Horrigan and Sarah Lott, Personnel Management (3rd)
Jamey Martinez, Skidsteer Operation (3rd)
Jackie Grow, Sales Presentation (3rd)
Sarah Lott, Business Management (4th)
Drew Somsel, Construction Cost Estimating (4th)
Jeff Elshoff, Irrigation Design (5th)
Chris McKellar, Annual and Perennial ID (5th)
Christina Horrigan Business Management (8th)
Sarah Lott, Turf and Weed ID (8th)
Team of Nick Calderone and Drew Somsel, Arboriculture Techniques (8th)
Team of Jeff Elshoff and Janelle Hesch, Irrigation Assembly (8th)
Emily Huening, Interior Landscape Design (9th)
Team of Janelle Hesch and Jamey Martinez, Landscape Maintenance Operations (11th)
Jackie Grow, Computer Aided Design (13th)
Christina Horrigan, Turf and Weed ID (13th)
Emily Huening, Exterior Landscape Design (13th)
Joe Shear, Compact Excavator Operation (14th)
Lauren Tuski, Annual and Perennial ID (14th)

Top scorers for MSU were Joe Shear (340), Jamey Martinez (288), Jeff Elshoff (275), Sarah Lott (257), Christina Horrigan (245), Janelle Hesch (235), Jackie Grow (228), and Emily Huening (225). Special congratulations go to Jackie Grow for being awarded the $2,500 PLANET Presidential Scholarship and Christina Horrigan and Sarah Lott for being awarded PLANET scholarships worth $1000 from the PLANET Education Foundation.

Team members worked diligently all year raising money to finance the trip through Horticulture Club activities such as their Spring Show. They also acknowledge the following donors for their support:

Ball Horticulture
Bartlett Tree Experts
Davey Tree
Hesch's Custom Framing
Hunter Industries
Industrial Magnetics, Inc.
Joe Shear Services, Boyne City
Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association
Pizzo Ecological Restoration
True Trim Lawn Care, Coldwater
Turf Transitions Lawn and Landscapes
Walker Mowers

Next year's competition will be hosted by Auburn University in Alabama.

Professor Emeritus Dr. Stanley Ries Passed Away (article from the Lansing State Journal)

Stanley K. Ries, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University for more than 40 years, died January 21, 2012 in East Lansing at the age of 84, after a long illness. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Kinsel Ries. Dr. Ries's long career in laboratory and field research was dedicated to increasing crop yields and investigating the mode of action and application of plant growth regulators. In addition to his numerous contributions in agricultural research he was a popular and enthusiastic teacher at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Ries was born in Kenton, Ohio, in 1927 and grew up in Plainwell, Michigan where he worked on his father's muck farm at Gun Lake. After a short stint in the Army Air Force, he earned his B. S. at MSU in 1950, and an M.S. in 1951 and Ph.D. in 1954 from Cornell University, after which he joined MSU as a member of the faculty. One of Dr. Ries's first projects was leading the effort to educate Michigan growers on the use of chemical weed controls to increase crops yields. In the 1960s, in partnership with agricultural engineering professor B. A. Stout, he also pioneered the mechanical harvesting of pickling cucumbers and tomatoes, developing designs that are still in use today. In order to further increase the harvesting yield of vegetables and grains, he pursued research in ways to identify plant growth regulators and to increase plant vigor. Among other agents, Dr. Ries discovered the growth-regulating properties of Triacontanol, which occurs naturally in many plants and is now used on millions of acres of crops across the world. Dr. Ries traveled to Switzerland, Israel, Australia, and the People's Republic of China as a visiting professor to educate others on his research. He also worked with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations' research programs in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Turkey to improve agricultural production. Holder of several patents and the author of more than one hundred scientific articles, Dr. Ries advised fifty-five graduate and post-doctoral students who today work in education and business across the country and overseas. An avid hunter and fisher, an amateur woodworker, and a lifelong Democrat, Dr. Ries also enjoyed gardening with Mary, making their home a featured site of the Greater Lansing Garden Club tour. Dr. and Mrs. Ries have endowed the Ries Foundation to support MSU Horticulture. In addition to his wife, Dr. Ries is survived by his children Carol Byerly (Rad) of Boulder, Colorado, Don Ries (Karen) of Dewitt, and Kathy Brandenburg (John), of East Lansing, and four grandchildren, Adam Ries of Portland, Oregon, Eva Brandenburg of New York City, Jessica Ries of Dewitt, and Jori Brandenburg of Ann Arbor. A celebration of Dr. Ries's life will be held on Saturday, January 28th, 12 noon to 2 p.m. at the MSU University Club.  The family would also like to recognize the compassionate care provided Dr. and Mrs. Ries by the Burcham Hills Retirement Center and Heartland Hospice.  On-line condolences may be made at

Contributions in his honor can be made to the Ries Endowed Fund (see below) of Michigan State University. To make a secure credit card gift on-line, CLICK HERE.

Gifts can also be mailed to:

Ries Endowed Fund
University Development
Michigan State University
300 Spartan Way
East Lansing, MI 48824-1005

Thank you for supporting the Ries Endowed Fund!

Professor James F. Hancock is the 2011 recipient of the American Pomological Society's Wilder Medal.

The Wilder Medal, established in 1873 by the American Pomological Society (APS), honors Marshall Pinckney Wilder -- the illustrious founder and first President of the Society. The Wilder Medal is the most prestigious honor awarded by the APS and is "conferred on individuals or organizations which have rendered outstanding service to horticulture in the broad area of pomology." Past recipients from Michigan include William J. Beal (1885), Liberty Hyde Bailey (1921, 1948), Stanley Johnston (1951), Harold B. Tukey (1956), Victor R. Gardner (1958), Robert F. Carlson (1974) and Wallace Heuser (1986). Click here to read more.

Dr. Eric Hanson, 2011 Michigan State Horticultural Society Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Erik Runkle - MAEA's 2011 Outstanding Extension Specialist

The Michigan Association of Extension Agents (MAEA) "Outstanding Extension Specialist Award" is presented annually to two Extension Specialist. Awardees demonstrate outstanding leadership, and forward thinking and direction, for the industry they work with; as well as for the Extension Educators for whom they provide technical and leadership support. Nominations are solicited by the MAEA board at their meeting in the Spring, and award decisions are made at the Summer board meeting through a voting process. Dr. Erik Runkle (Associate Professor of Horticulture - Floriculture) has been an Extension Specialist at MSU since January 2001. Dr. Runkle's outreach program's objective is to disseminate research-based information and provide educational opportunities for the commercial greenhouse industry in the state. He developed and maintains the MSU Floriculture website, which provides production information and outreach activities targeted to the floriculture industry in Michigan and beyond. On that website he has up-to-date information, from his research program and those of his colleagues, on greenhouse crop production methodologies (e.g., pest management, marketing,profitability, etc.), energy cost reduction strategies, the annual MichiganGreenhouse Growers Expo (joint effort of the Western Michigan Greenhouse Assoc. and the Metropolitan Detroit Flower Growers Assoc., in conjunction with theGreat Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo) and the annual Michigan Garden Plant Tour, and the on-line MSU Extension News for Floriculture can be found there. Dr. Runkle makes numerous presentations each year to growers and associations and publishes extensively in nationally distributed industry magazines and newsletters, in addition to his many peer-reviewed scientific articles. Furthermore, Dr. Runkle was instrumental in having the long-vacant Floriculture OutreachSpecialist position filled this past November.

Annual Holiday Open House

  • Thursday, December 8, 2011 from Noon to  7:30 pm at MSU Plant and Soil Sciences Building
  • Enjoy our variety displays of poinsettias and 16' tree under evening lights. Bring your camera and the kids!
  • No admission charge

Santa will be there with his sleigh at 5:30 pm! MSU-grown Poinsettias, centerpieces and wreaths for sale. (From 12/8 - 12/22.) One dozen trees decorated by local schools and garden volunteers. Model trains showcased by Capital Area Railway Society. Enjoy cookies and hot cider. Free parking in the Garden Visitor lot off Bogue Street (Visit for directions)

Fresh Produce from Local Neighborhood in Flint

Yet another student, educated through MSU's Organic Farming Certificate Program -- now the Organic Farmer Training Program -- located at the Horticulture Department's Teaching and Research Center, makes her mark in urban agriculture. Joanna Lehrman, and her business partner Roxanne Adair, (with help from the Genesee County Land Bank and a grant from the Ruth Mott Foundation) started "Flint River Farm" in 2010 to bring fresh produce to a neighborhood that does not have easy access to such food. But this is more than just about "gardening". This enterprise is an excellent example of creating a sustainable business around available land, and doing so with a relatively low capital investment. Click here for the complete story from The Flint Journal, written by Sarah Schuch (6/10/11)

Hort Club Landscape Team Places 2nd in International Competition

Congratulations to members of Hort Club that represented MSU at PLANET (Professional Landcare Network) Student Career Days held in Illinois last week. The four-day event consisted of educational workshops, a career fair, and 28 competitive events which have been termed the Landscape Olympics. Team members competed against over 800 students representing 60 colleges and universities from across the United States and Canada. MSU once again made a strong showing finishing second out of the 60 teams in attendance. Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, was the overall champion.

Team members included Nick Calderone, Alan Dosenberry, Jeff Elshoff, Jake Emling, Laura Everard, Meghan Fisher, Jackie Grow, Janelle Hesch, Christina Horrigan, Jason Karle, Eric Kopinski, Brenda Landhuis, Sarah Lott, Sara Marcucci, Jamey Martinez, Tim McAlister, Cody McClellan, Donald McMillan, Jarid Pohl, Megan Schuiteman, Lauren Tuski, Joe Shear, Mitchell Zost, and team coaches Brad Rowe, Marcus Duck, Tom Fernandez, and Bridget Behe. The team was composed of students from Horticulture, Landscape Architecture, Ag Business Management, and the Institute of Agricultural Technology Nursery and Landscape Program.

Top 20 performances in individual events included:

  • Team of Jason Karle and Jamey Martinez, Landscape Maintenance Operations (2nd)
  • Sarah Lott, Business Management (3rd)
  • Sara Marcucci, Sales Presentation (3rd)
  • Eric Kopinski, Interior Landscape Design (3rd)
  • Mitchell Zost, Plant Problem Diagnosis (3rd)
  • Team of Christina Horrigan and Sarah Lott, Personnel Management (4th)
  • Alan Dosenberry, Small Engine Repair (4th)
  • Jeff Elshoff, Irrigation Troubleshooting (5th)
  • Jeff Elshoff, Irrigation Design (6th)
  • Team of Jarid Pohl and Joe Shear, Truck and Trailer Operation (6th)
  • Jackie Grow, 3D CAD Landscape Design (7th)
  • Brenda Landhuis, Annual and Perennial ID (7th)
  • Team of Alan Dosenberry and Mitchell Zost, Arboriculture Techniques (8th)
  • Lauren Tuski, Annual and Perennial ID (12th)
  • Brenda Landhuis, Interior Plant ID (13th)
  • Megan Schuiteman, Computer Aided Design (14th)
  • Mitchell Zost, Leadership Skills (15th)
  • Sarah Lott, Turf and Weed ID (16th)
  • Mitchell Zost, Woody Plant ID (16th)
  • Tim McAlister, Exterior Landscape Design (17th)
  • Meghan Fisher, Plant Problem Diagnosis (18th)
  • Jason Karle, Woody Plant ID (18th)
  • Brenda Landhuis, Business Management (19th)
  • Team of Jake Emling and Jamey Martinez, Hardscape Installation (20th)

Top scorers for MSU were Mitchell Zost (306 points), Brenda Landhuis (255), Sarah Lott (248), Jamey Martinez (247), Jarid Pohl (239), and Joe Shear (234). Special congratulations go to Jackie Grow, Brenda Landhuis, and Tim McAlister for being awarded PLANET scholarships worth $1000 from the PLANET Education Foundation.

Next year's competition will be hosted by Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS.

Dr. Randy Beaudry Winner Michigan State Horticultural Society 2010 Distinguished Service Award

Dean's List Fall Semester 2010

Emily Alcini
Devin Hurcomb
Matthew Bedewitz
Denise Janus
Rochelle Bolt
Matthew Kolp
Jaclyn Cosner
Brenda Landhuis
Rachel Cross
Alison Maloney
Benjamin Cuddeback
James Manning
Alan Dosenberry
Timothy McAlister
Jeffrey Elshoff
Michael McFarland
   Jennifer Evans
Emily McKay
Laura Everard
Samuel Peck
Benjamin Gluck
Lesley Recker
Ginette Golembiewski
Zachary Robinson
John Gundry
Devon Rossman
Michael Hardigan
Joseph Shear
Christina Horrigan
Jonathan Spoelhof Emily Huening
Lauren Tuski

If you are interested in supporting our scholarship program, please contact Bridget Behe at

Dr. Bert Cregg - Outstanding Extension Specialist and State Staff Award 2010

Dr. Bernard Zandstra awarding Dr. Bert Cregg MESSSA AwardDr. Bert Cregg has been an Extension Specialist at Michigan State University since 1999, with an appointment in the Department of Horticulture and the Department of Forestry.  For the past 10 years he has provided leadership in outreach and professional education for the Michigan nursery, landscape, and Christmas tree industry industries.  Dr. Cregg has served as campus co-chair for the Nursery and Landscape AoE team and the Christmas Tree AoE team, and has served on the education committees for the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association and the Arboriculture Society of Michigan.  Dr. Cregg has contributed over 60 outreach articles to the MSU Nursery and Landscape CAT Alerts, the Michigan Landscape magazine, the Great Lakes Christmas Tree Journal, and other regional and national outlets.  In July 2009, Dr. Cregg teamed with three other Horticulture professors from around the country to form the Garden Professors Blog, a forum for the science of landscape horticulture.  Dr. Cregg has been instrumental in MSU Extension's response to Michigan's emerald ash borer crisis, developing a 12 page bulletin and companion website on ash alternatives. 

ASHS Career Award - Outstanding Graduate Educator

Gregory A. Lang of the Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, has been a major advisor to 10 master's students and 4 doctoral students during his career at three universities. His students are now in faculty positions around the United States and in other countries. Three recent graduates of his program are now faculty members themselves. Lang has had a strong positive effect on his graduate students. One former students wrote, "He guided me not only in my studies but also in a series of important decisions about my career and life. I guess Greg will never realize how strong his influence was and is in my personal and professional life." Lang has worked diligently and successfully with his students to get their work published, resulting in at least 26 refereed publications with his students and numerous other publications.

Lang has made great contributions to graduate education in graduate administration. At Louisiana State University, he served on the graduate committee for seven years, two of which he was chair, and served as graduate program coordinator for five years. At Michigan State University, he chaired the Graduate Policy committee beginning in 2001. In this position, he has worked successfully to increase the number of Horticulture students receiving fellowships, securing over $700,000 in fellowships for horticulture students. He has worked to not only increase the support of graduate students, but also the quality of graduate students in the program.

In addition to his graduate work, Lang has an active research and extension program focused on cherry orchard development, as well as on the physiological and enviromental stress factors importent to efficient production of high-value tree fruits.

ASHA Publication Award - Ornamental Publication Award

Water Conservation, Growth and Water Use Efficiency of Container-grown Woody Ornamentals Irrigated Based on Daily Water Use
Aaron L. Warsaw, R. Thomas Fernandez, Bert M. Cregg and Jeffrey A. Andresen. HortScience 44:1308-1318, August, 2009

ASHS Outstanding Undergraduate Students

Students are selected by the institutions on the basis of academic achievemets, leadership abilities, participation in campus/club activities, and service to their departments.

  • William Holdsworth

Ed Tuinier Memorial Scholarship Recipient - Zachary Pernack 

"My professional goal is to own my own retail greenhouse. I want to pursue my career in floriculture because I have been working in a greenhouse since the age of 12," says Pernack. "Just being in the horticulture field makes me feel good overall as a person."

The Tuinier scholarship is awarded to sophomore, junior, or senior undergraduate students enrolled in the floriculture program at Michigan State University. Ed Tuinier, owner of Post Gardens, loved the greenhouse business, building his firm to one of the top 50 U.S. companies, inspiring his children, all of whom work in one of the two Post Gardens locations. A graduate of Michigan State University, Ed was a major benefactor of the MSU horticulture program and demonstration gardens.

2010 Paul Ecke Jr. Scholarship Winner is MSU's Daedre Craig, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Horticulture

Daedre Craig, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Horticulture, recently received the 2010 Paul Ecke Jr. Scholarship awarded by the American Floral Endowment.  Daedre is working with Erik Runkle to develop light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to accelerate flowering of floriculture crops grown by commercial greenhouse growers. Read more...

MSU plant science works to improve production of natural sweetener

Contact:   Mark Fellows, University Relations,, Cell: (517) 819-5437, Office: (517) 884-0166; Ryan Warner, Horticulture, warnerry@msu.eduOffice: (517) 355-5191, ext. 1344                       

Published: May 04, 2010
Stevia rebaudina, source of a natural sweetener; photo by G.L. Kohuth
Stevia rebaudina; photo by G.L. Kohuth

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The world's leading supplier of all-natural, zero-calorie sweeteners is tapping Michigan State University to help develop sweeter, more robust varieties of a South American plant.

PureCircle Ltd. engaged MSU Department of Horticulture researchers to help breed proprietary varieties of Stevia rebaudiana. Native to Paraguay, this offshoot of the chrysanthemum family has been known for centuries as ‘sweet leaf' by the Guarani Indians.

Stevia is growing in popularity as the source of a high-intensity natural sweetener in products ranging from soft drinks to yogurt, from some of the world's leading food and beverage manufacturers. The hardy plant requires little chemical pesticide, making it more economically viable in subsistence-level communities. The company sources its Stevia leaf from the rural farmers in Thailand, Indonesia, China, Paraguay and Kenya.

"The incorporation of MSU's leading-edge research combined with PureCircle's industry leading, proprietary varieties will ensure that we continue to lead the industry with sustainable agriculture while improving the economics for both farmers and our customers," PureCircle CEO Magomet Malsagov said. "The results will aid in PureCircle's continued worldwide expansion of Reb-A volumes as well as increase our leadership in the next generation of steviol glycoside sweeteners."

Rebaudioside-A is the single-molecule sweetener found in the Stevia plant. High-purity Reb-A was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in beverages and foods in 2008 and, on a weight basis, is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It is all-natural, calorie-free and has a low glycemic index - meaning glucose is released more gradually into the blood stream. Heat stability makes it suitable for cooking as well.

The joint plant breeding program will use conventional methods to develop improved varieties, using MSU's world-leading plant science assets.

"We are excited to partner with an industry-leading company like PureCircle to bring our cutting-edge knowledge and experience in horticultural plant breeding and genetics to this exciting new crop," said horticulture assistant professor Ryan Warner, lead researcher on the project. "This is a great example of combining the strengths of industry and academia to bring value to consumers."

PureCircle is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with U.S. headquarters in Chicago. It promotes a commitment to environmental and economic sustainability, including recycling leaf mulch plant waste from its production facilities into fertilizer and biogas for electricity generation.

The agreement was facilitated by MSU Technologies, Michigan State's technology transfer office.


Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.


"Butterflies in the Garden" - March 15 to April 30, 2010

Even though the butterflies are gone, the gardens are now springing to life.  Please come and visit them often.

PLANET Team Scores Well - 2010 Atlanta

Congratulations to the MSU landscape team that represented MSU at PLANET (Professional Landcare Network) Student Career Days held in Atlanta April 8-11, 2010 (sort of like the landscape olympics). There were 900 students competing from 70 different colleges and universities from across the United States, Canada, and as far away as England. MSU finished 10th out of the 70 schools competing (second in the Big Ten).

The team was composed of members of Horticulture Club and included Rochelle Bolt, Jake Emling, Meghan Fisher, Joel Franken, Tim Gray, Jackie Grow, Zeke Kadish, Brenda Landhuis, Drew LeFresne, Sara Marcucci, Jamey Martinez, Jim Moylan, Lesley Recker, Ashley Whalen, Mitch Zost, and team coaches Brad Rowe, Marcus Duck, Bert Cregg, and Tom Fernandez.

Top 20 performances in individual events included:

  • Ashley Whalen, 3D CAD Landscape Design (1st)
  • Jim Moylan, Irrigation Design (2nd)
  • Team of Drew LeFresne, Jamey Martinez, and Jim Moylan, Landscape Plant Installation (2nd)
  • Zeke Kadish, Compact Excavator Operation (6th)
  • Joel Franken, Maintenance Cost Estimating (9th)
  • Tim Gray, Small Engine Repair (9th)
  • Team of Jake Emling and Drew LeFresne, Wood Construction (11th)
  • Team of Jim Moylan and Joel Franken Irrigation Assembly (11th)
  • Team of Zeke Kadish and Jamey Martinez, Landscape Maintenance Operations (12th)
  • Brenda Landhuis, Annual and Perennial ID (14th)
  • Brenda Landhuis, Business Management (14th)
  • Lesley Recker, Business Management (15th)
  • Team of Zeke Kadish and Joel Franken, Truck and Trailer Operation (17th)
  • Meghan Fisher, Safety Management (18th)
  • Rochelle Bolt, Interior Landscape Design (19th)
  • Sara Marcucci, Sales Presentation (19th)
  • Jim Moylan, Irrigation Troubleshooting (19th)
  • Zeke Kadish, Skidsteer Operation (20th)

Top scorers for MSU:

  • Zeke Kadish (382 points)
  • Joel Franken (339 points)
  • Brenda Landhuis (314 points)
  • Jim Moylan (310 points)

Special congratulations to Joel Franken, Brenda Landhuis, and Jim Moylan for being awarded scholarships worth $1,000.

PLANET - Atlanta 2010

I. Rin wins UURAF Competition

Undergraduate student I Rin has won the overall Grand Prize for the areas of Science, Mathematics and Engineering at the 2010 University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF). UURAF is a University-sponsored, on-campus meeting that allows highly motivated MSU undergraduate students to gain experience in presenting their research and answering questionsI. Rin about their work from audience members and guests, and to receive constructive feedback from faculty judges. Over 500 students and nearly 300 faculty mentors, from 15 MSU colleges, participated in the 2010 Forum. Awards are based on the ability of the student to clearly articulate the background, goals, approach, results and conclusions of the research.

Ms. Rin, a junior in Lyman Briggs College, is involved in an undergraduate research project in Horticulture exploring how specific genes influence the timing of flowering in plants. Her presentation, titled "POTENTIAL INVOLVEMENT OF ARABIDOPSIS UFP IN REGULATION OF FLOWERING TIMING " details the mapping and identification of a gene called UFP required for normal flowering in the reference research plant Arabidopsis thaliana. UFP was formerly identified as a humans gene required for a process called nonsense-mediated decay, a cellular mechanism of RNA quality control ensuring that messenger RNA (mRNA) that is defective does not become translated to aberrant cellular proteins with potentially deleterious activity. The work on Arabidopsis UFP suggests that nonsense-mediated decay may have a role in normal growth and development as well.

The UURAF Grand Prize is $500.

Dr. Muralee Nair receives CANR Distinguished Faculty Award

Dr. Muraleedharan (Muralee) G. Nair, professor of Horticulture and Natural Products Chemistry, was selected to receive the 2010 Distinguished Faculty Award from the Alumni Association of Michigan State University's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  This prestigious honor is awarded to only one member of the college's faculty each year.  It represents a career award to recognize the recipient's long-term achievements in his/her area of professional expertise and appointment in the college.  Muralee is a very deserving recipient because he is an internationally recognized pioneer in bioactive natural products chemistry, as well as an author, teacher, mentor, and advocate for international development.

Dr. Nair is the principal investigator for the Bioactive Natural Products and Phytoceuticals Laboratory, located in the Food Safety and Toxicology Center and Plant and Soil Sciences Building at Michigan State University.  He began his career at MSU in 1987.  His research focuses on the bioassay-directed discovery, isolation, and identification of phytoceuticals that are potential candidates to be evaluated as phytomedicines to combat diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, type-2 diabetes, obesity, musculoskeletal, inflammation and parasitic/microbial disorders.  One such discovery was the health benefits of compounds present in Michigan cherries.  He provided the first scientific proof that anthocyanins found in cherries possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  His research was the basis for similar investigations in crops such as blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates, and elderberries.  Another component of this research focuses on phytoceuticals with biological activities to enhance food safety and add value to fresh and processed foods.  Other examples of Muralee's many professional accomplishments and contributions include his 180+ peer-reviewed scientific publications and 134 published scientific abstracts.  In addition, Muralee holds 49 U.S. and 30 international patents. 

His research excellence and distinguished career have earned him the title of Charter Chemist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.  He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Pharmacognosy, and Sigma Xi Honor Society, is a life member of the Indian Cancer Society.  He is also a member of the editorial boards of the international journals Phytomedicine and Pesticide Research Journal, serves on the scientific review panels for the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Agriculture, and is a consultant for industry in areas related to the commercialization of natural products.

Dr. Nair is equally dedicated to the education process at all levels.  He has hosted and trained 38 visiting professors and post-doctoral fellows, served as principal advisor for nine master's and 13 doctoral students, hosted eight international graduate students and served on 34 graduate student advisory committees.  He has given generously of his time and expertise to visiting professors, graduate students, undergraduate students, and even high school students.  As a testament to his mentoring skills, his former students, postdoctoral research associates, and visiting scientists organized a symposium in his honor.

Previous Distinguished ANR Faculty from the ranks of the Horticulture Department include Dr. Irv Widders (1989) and the late Dr. Will Carlson, who was honored with the inaugural award in 1982.

Formal presentation of the award was made at the 2010 ANR Week Annual Luncheon, which was held Tuesday, March 9 in the Big Ten Room of The Kellogg Center on MSU's campus.

Dean's List: Fall Semester 2009

Emily Alcini
Molly Baes
Megan Blake
Rochelle Bolt
Joseph Chargot
Sara Dahms
Kurt Dempsey
Jacob Emling
Jennifer Evans
Benjamin Gluck
Ginette Golembiewski
Kelley Heim
William Holdsworth
Jason Karle
Brenda Landhuis
Scott Lynde
James Manning

Sara Marcucci
Timothy McAlister
Bradley Meyer
Ryan Montgomery
Philip Munoz
Sara Murphy
Brendan Okeefe
Samuel Peck
Lesley Recker
Meaghan Rich
Jason Schlueter
Megan Schuiteman
Joseph Shear
Jonathan Spoelhof
Rebekah Struck
Laurel Sutherland
Jessica Wendlandt

Governor Granholm supports Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station
and MSU Extension Programs

A Message from Dean Jeff Armstrong, Steve Pueppke, Director of MAES; and Tom Coon, Director of MSUE

Governor Granholm presented her FY 2011 budget for the State of Michigan on Thursday, February 10, 2010.  The recommendation included flat funding for higher education and MSU Extension and MAES.  It also restored the 44 percent of the budgets to MSUE and MAES that was filled this year with stimulus money with General Fund dollars.
While this is encouraging news, especially after last year's recommendation of dramatic cuts to MSUE and MAES, we must remember that the state faces a very challenging budget situation.  The budget process is a long one that involves both the state House and Senate.  The state budget is also directly tied to revenue generation which is still unstable and unpredictable. Another component that influences the budget and allocation process is rethinking of the State's tax structure. Many believe that a restructuring of our current tax system is key to sustainable funding for important State programs but is a challenging proposition especially in the 2010 election cycle.
It is important to remember that the College, MSUE and MAES have many costs that continue to rise:  salaries and benefits, materials, travel costs, etc. A flat state allocation means that we still need to find cost savings across all of our budgets as we have recommended in our Shaping the Future work.   The Governor's budget plans do not impact the ongoing restructuring of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the redesign of MSU Extension and strategic planning that MAES is conducting. These are critical endeavors that are important to move forward for our future.


MSU scientists land $14.4 million to improve quality of fruit

Hungry to make fruit better for longer, Michigan State University scientists will lead a four-year, $14.4 million grant-funded research project. The grant is the largest ever awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Research Initiative since its inception in 2007. Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station scientist Amy Iezzoni heads the RosBREED project, aiming to combine emerging DNA sequence and research findings to improve the quality of apples, peaches, cherries and strawberries.

Read the full article

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East Lansing, MI 48823