Tom Fernandez

Professor

Tom Fernandez

PhD

1066 Bogue St, Room A216
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: 517-353-0336

Area of Expertise: Sustainability of wholesale production nurseries, water management and quality

http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0113-8055

Quick links: Education  Experience   Teaching   Publications    Extension    Research

Joined the department

September 1999

Appointment

45% Research

30% Teaching

25% Extension

Current and Previous Experience

Associate Professor, Dept. of Horticulture, MSU, 2003 - present

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Horticulture, MSU, 1999 - 2003

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Horticulture, Clemson University, 1996 - 1999

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Horticulture, Louisiana State University, 1995 - 1996

Post-doctoral Research Associate, Dept. of Horticulture, MSU, 1992 - 1995

Education

Ph.D., Michigan State University, December 1992

M.S., University of Florida, May 1989

B.S., University of Florida, May 1986

 

Teaching

Nursery Management (HRT 310) Fall Semester: Management of wholesale container and field production nurseries. Business development, management, site selection, financial aspects, legal regulations, production practices (nutrition, water management, pest management, pruning and training, storage and handling, shipping). The course includes a semester long project with small scale nurseries. Typically 3,000 to 4,000 plants are donated as well as fertilizer and potting substrate for the project each year for over $70,000 in gifts-in-kind to date (2000-2008). Nurseries have 3 to 5 student members responsible for 300-500 plants per nursery. The nurseries grow the plants, develop cost of production estimates, catalogs, a sales and marketing program, mock sell to 3 faculty members, and determine profit or loss for the semester. Plants are used in fund-raisers to off-set other class project costs, my and other faculty members’ research projects, Hort Club fund-raisers, and HTRC, Horticulture Demonstration Garden and MSU campus plantings.

Landscape Plant Identification I (HRT 211) Fall Semester: Identification characteristics and uses of herbaceous perennials, shade trees and summer and fall flowering shrubs and trees. Emphasis is on common landscape plants. Approximately 220 species are covered.

Horticulture Club: I have been the advisor for the Horticulture Club twice for a total of 5 years (2000-2003, 2006-2008). It is always rewarding to work with the Hort Club, they are our most dedicated students. I encourage them each year to participate in some type of community service activity where they can put their horticultural knowledge to use. They have done volunteer work for East Lansing, Kettunen Center, MSU, New Orleans Hurricane Katrina relief twice, and several public schools. I have also assisted with the PLANET  (Professional Landcare Network) Student Careers Day team since 2000 and continue to work with the club for community service projects and the Spring Show.

Netherlands, United Kingdom, May 4-25, 2002. Study Abroad Program: Production, Use and Marketing of Ornamental Plants in the Netherlands and United Kingdom. 11 students. Course content included approximately 30 hours of lecture from Waginengen University faculty, tours of cutting edge horticulture operations and facilities including the international flower auction, tours of world renowned botanical gardens and landscape gardens (e.g. Kew, Wisley, Trompenburg), and information on international marketing (flower auction, Chelsea Flower Show, Marks and Spencer). Cultural and non-horticultural information was acquired by interaction between Dutch and MSU students, living in a small Dutch city for several weeks, visits to museums in Ede, Amsterdam and London, national parks, and a land reclamation facility in the Netherlands. The course was very well thought of by the students and has been requested every year since, however, with unfavorable exchange rates and higher airline costs the economics have not made it feasible to hold in the past few years.

Research

Research area is improving the sustainability of wholesale production nurseries. Specific projects have focused on water management and quality, biodegradable films, phytoremediation of runoff water.

Recent publications

  • Brumfield, R.G., A.J. DeVincentis, X. Wang, R.T. Fernandez, S. Nambuthiri, R.L. Geneve, A.K. Koeser, G. Bi, G. Niu, D. Cochran, A. Fulcher. 2015. Economics of utilizing alternative containers in ornamental crop production systems. HortTechnology 25:17-25.
  • Li, T., G. Bi, G. Niu, S. Nambuthiri, R. Geneve, X. Wang, R.T. Fernandez, Y. Sun, X. Zhao. 2015. Feasibility of using biocontainers in a pot-in-pot system for nursery production of river birch. HortTechnology. 25:57-62.
  • Nambuthiri, S., R.L. Geneve, Y. Sun, X. Wang, R.T. Fernandez, G. Niu, G. Bi, A. Fulcher. 2015. Substrate temperature in black plastic, wood pulp, keratin, and fabric nursery containers. HortTechnology 25:50-56.
  • Wang, W., R.T. Fernandez, B.M. Cregg, R. Auras, A. Fulcher, D.R. Cochran, G. Niu, Y. Sun, G. Bi, S. Nambuthiri, R.L. Geneve. 2015. Multi-state evaluation of plant growth and water use in plastic and alternative nursery containers. HortTechology 25:42-49.
  • Behe, B.K., R.T. Fernandez, P.T. Huddleston, and S. Minahan. 2013. Practical field use of eye-tracking devices for consumer research in the retail environment. HortTechnology 23:517-524.
  • Taylor, A.J., R.T. Fernandez, P. Nzokou, and B.M. Cregg. 2013. Carbon isotope discrimination, gas exchange, and growth of container-grown conifers under cyclic irrigation. HortScience 48:848-854
  • Minahan, S., P. Huddleston, B.K. Behe, and R.T. Fernandez. 2013. Conducting Field Research in Retail Stores: A meandering path to a successful research project. International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research. DOI 10.1080/09593969.2012.743106
  • Warsaw, A.L., R.T. Fernandez, D.R. Kort, C. Vandervoort, B.M. Cregg, and D.B. Rowe. 2012. Remediation of metalaxyl, trifluralin, and nitrates from nursery runoff using container-grown woody ornamentals. Ecological Engineering 47:254-263
  • Ingram, D.L. and R.T. Fernandez. 2012. Life Cycle Assessment: A tool for determining the environment impact of horticultural crop production. HortTech. 22:275-279
  • Klooster, W.S., B.M. Cregg, R.T. Fernandez, and P. Nzokou. 2012. Growth and physiology of deciduous shade trees in response to controlled-release fertilizer. Sci. Hortic. 135:71-79.
  • Kijchavengkul, T., R. Auras, M. Rubino, S. Selke, M. Ngouajio, R. T. Fernandez. 2011. Formulation selection of aliphatic aromatic biodegradable polyester film exposed to UF/solar radiation. Polymer Degrad. Stabil. 96:1919-1926.
  • Kijchavengkul, T., R. Auras, M. Rubino, S. Selke, M. Ngouajio, R. T. Fernandez. 2010. Biodegradation and hydrolysis rate of aliphatic aromatic polyester. Polymer Degrad. Stabil. 95:2641-2647.
  • Klooster, W.S., B.M. Cregg, R.T. Fernandez, and P. Nzokou. 2010. Growth and photosynthetic response of pot-in-pot grown conifers to substrate and controlled-release fertilizer. HortScience 45:36-42.
  • Fernandez, R.T., R. Betz and T. Dudek. 2009. Estimating cost of production for small to medium sized wholesale nurseries. In: Proc. Southern Nursery Association Research Conference 54:329-339.
  • Fernandez, R.T., J. Lea-Cox, G. Zinati, C. Hong, R. Cabrera, D. Merhaut, J. Albano, M. vanIersel, T. Yeager and D. Buhler. 2009. NCDC216: A new multistate group for water management and quality for ornamental crop production and health. In: Proc. Southern Nursery Association Research Conferecne 54:35-38.
  • Klooster, W.S., B.M. Cregg, R.T. Fernandez, and P. Nzokou. 2010. Growth and photosynthetic response of pot-in-pot grown conifers to substrate and controlled release fertilizer. HortScience 45:36-42.
  • Warsaw, A.L., R.T. Fernandez, B.M. Cregg and J.A. Andresen. 2009. Water conservation, growth, and water use efficiency of container-grown woody ornamentals irrigated based on daily water use. HortScience 44:1308-1318.
  • Warsaw, A.L., R.T. Fernandez, B.M. Cregg and J.A. Andresen. 2009. Container-grown ornamental plant growth and water runoff volume and nutrient content under four irrigation treatments. HortScience 44:1573-1580.
  • Ngouajio, M., R. Auras, R.T. Fernandez, M. Rubino, J.W. Counts Jr., and T. Kijchavengkul. 2008. Field performance of aliphatic-aromatic copolyester biodegradable mulch films in a fresh market tomato production system. HortTech. 18:605-610.
  • Kijchavengkul, T., R. Auras, M. Rubino, M. Ngouajio, R.T. Fernandez. 2008. Assessment of biodegradable mulch films. Part II: Laboratory simulated conditions. Chemosphere 71:1607-1616.
  • Kijchavengkul, T., R. Auras, M. Rubino, M. Ngouajio, and R.T. Fernandez. 2008. Assessment of aliphatic-aromatic copolyester biodegradable mulch films. Part I: Field study. Chemosphere 71:942-953.
  • Kijchavengkul, T., R. Auras, M. Rubino, M. Ngouajio, and R.T. Fernandez. 2006. Development of an automatic laboratory-scale respirometric system to measure polymer biodegradability. Polym. Test. 25:1006-1016.
  • Hicks, J.M., T.J. Paige, Jr., B.K. Behe, J.H. Dennis and R.T. Fernandez. 2005. Delighted consumers buy again. J. Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior 18:94-104.
  • Behe, B., J. Hardy, S. Barton, J. Brooker, T. Fernandez, C. Hall, J. Hicks, R. Hinson, P. Knight, R. McNiel, T. Page, B. Rowe, C. Safley, and R. Schutzki. 2005. Landscape plant material, size, and design sophistication increase perceived home value. J. Environ. Hort. 23:127-133.
  • VanWoert, N.D, D.B. Rowe, J.A. Andresen, C.L. Rugh, R.T. Fernandez, and L. Xiao.  2005. Green roof stormwater retention: Effects of roof surface, slope, and media depth.  J. Environ. Quality  34(3):1036-1044.
  • Dennis, J. H., B. K. Behe, R. T. Fernandez, R.E. Schutzki, T. J. Page Jr., and R. A. Spreng, 2005. Do Plant Guarantees Matter? Understanding the Role of Satisfaction and Regret When Guarantees Are Present. HortScience 40:142-145.
  • Duck, M.W., B.M. Cregg, R.T. Fernandez, R.D. Heins and F.F. Cardoso. 2004. Height control of Picea spp.and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana with uniconazole and 6-benzuladenine. J. Environ. Hort. 22:165-169.
  • Duck, M.W.,  B.M. Cregg, R.T. Fernandez, R.D. Heins, F.F. Cardoso. 2004. Controlling growth of tabletop Christmas trees with plant growth retardants. HortTech. 14:528-532
  • Jameson, G.L., J.A. Briggs, T. Whitwell, R.T. Fernandez and M.B. Riley. 2004. Influence of pine bark and gravel on degradation of isoxaben in retention basins. Weed Sci. 52:158-165.
  • Rowe, D.B., R.T. Fernandez, and B.M. Cregg. 2004. Effect of wool pellet mulch on propagation, crop growth, and weed control in liners.  Propagation of Ornamental Plants  4:29-36.
  • Duck, M.W., B.M. Cregg, F.F. Cardoso, R.T. Fernandez, B.K. Behe and R.D. Heins. 2003. Can antitranspirants  extend the shelf life of table-top Christmas trees? Acta Hort.618:153-162
  • Baz, M. and R.T. Fernandez. 2002. Evaluating woody ornamentals for use in herbicide phytoremediation. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 127:991-997.
  • Briggs, J.A., T. Whitwell, R.T. Fernandez and M.B. Riley. 2002. Effect of integrated pest management strategies on chlorothalonil, metalaxyl and thiophanate-methyl runoff at a container nursery.  J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 127:1018-1024.
  • Briggs, J.A., T. Whitwell, R.T. Fernandez and M.B. Riley. 2002. Formulation effects on isoxaben and trifluralin in runoff water from container plant nurseries. Weed Sci. 50:536-541.
  • Fernandez, R.T., R. E. Schutzki and K.J. Prevete. 2002. Influence of Spring and Fall drought stresses on growth and gas exchange during stress and post-transplant of container-grown Magnolia x soulangiana‘Jane’. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 127:38-44.
  • Tatineni, A., N.C. Rajapakse, R.T. Fernandez and J.R. Rieck. 2000. Effectiveness of plant growth regulators under photoselective greenhouse covers. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 125:673-678.
  • Hardy, J., B.K. Behe, S.S. Barton, T.J. Page, R.E. Schutzki, K. Muzii, R.T. Fernandez, M.T. Haque, J. Broker, C.R. Hall, R. Hinson, P. Knight, R. McNiel, D.B. Rowe,  C. Safley. 2000. Consumers preferences for plant size, type of plant material and design sophistication in residential landscaping. J. Environ. Hort. 18:224-230.
  • Prevete, K.J., R.T. Fernandez, and W.B. Miller. 2000. Drought response of three species of ornamental herbaceous perennials. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 125:310-317.
  • Fernandez, R.T., T. Whitwell, M. B. Riley, and C.R. Bernard. 1999. Evaluating semi-aquatic herbaceous perennials for use in herbicide phytoremediation. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 124:539 544.
  • Fernandez, R.T. and J.A. Flore. 1998. Intermittent application of CaCl2 to control cracking of sweet cherry.Acta Hort. 468:683-689.
  • Fernandez, R.T., R.L. Perry, J.A. Flore and R.M. McLean. 1998. Photosynthesis, 14C photosynthate distribution and shoot and root growth of young apple trees on 3 rootstocks in response to flooding. International Symposium on Integrating Canopy, Rootstock, and Environmental Physiology in Orchard Systems. Acta Hort. 451 (1) 351-359.
  • Fernandez, R.T., R.L. Perry and J.A. Flore. 1997. Drought response of young apple trees on three rootstocks. Growth and development. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 122:14-19.
  • Fernandez, R.T., R.L. Perry and J.A. Flore. 1997.  Drought response of young apple trees on three rootstocks. II. Water relations, abscisic acid, gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 122:841-848.
  • Bhandary, R., T. Whitwell, J. Briggs and R.T. Fernandez. 1997. Influence of residual herbicide concentrations in irrigation water on physiological processes of Gardenia jasminoides ‘Radicans’ and Pennisitum rupelliJ. Env. Hort. 15:169-172.
  • Fernandez, R.T., R.L. Perry and D.C. Ferree. 1995. Root distribution patterns of nine apple rootstocks at Michigan and Ohio 1980 NC-140 trial locations. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 120:6-13.
  • Fernandez, R.T., R.L. Perry and D.C. Ferree. 1991. Rooting characteristics of apple rootstocks at two NC-140 trial locations. 2nd Prize, U.P. Hedricks Award. Fruit Var. J. 45:264 268.

Extension

Extension programs in water management and quality for wholesale production nurseries, substrates and nutrition for container production, water use legislation as it affects nurseries, estimating cost of production.

Recent extension related publications:

  • Fernandez, R.T., R. Betz, and T.A. Dudek. 2014. Cost of Production Spreadsheet Example
  • Fernandez, R.T., R. Betz, and T.A. Dudek. 2014. Cost of Production Spreadsheet for 25 Enterprises
  • Fernandez, R.T., R. Betz, and T.A. Dudek. 2014. Cost of Production Spreadsheet for 50 Enterprises
  • Fernandez, R.T., R. Betz, and T.A. Dudek. 2014. Cost of Production Spreadsheet for 100 Enterprises
  • Fulcher, A. and T. Fernandez. 2013. Sustainable nursery irrigation management series. Part III. Strategies to manage nursery runoff. University of Tennessee Extension Bulletin W280.
  • Fulcher, A. and T. Fernandez. 2013. Sustainable nursery irrigation management series. Part II. Strategies to increase nursery crop irrigation efficiency. University of Tennessee Extension Bulletin W279.
  • Fulcher, A. and T. Fernandez. 2013. Sustainable nursery irrigation management series. Part I. Water use in nursery production. University of Tennessee Extension Bulletin W278.
  • Fernandez, R.T. and T.A. Dudek. 2012. Conducting a water application uniformity evaluation for a micro irrigation system in the nursery. MSUE Factsheet 6-28.
  • Dudek, T.A. and R.T. Fernandez. 2012. Conducting a water application uniformity evaluation for an overhead sprinkler irrigation system in the nursery. MSUE Factsheet 6-4.
  • Ingram, D.L. and R.T. Fernandez. 2011. Life cycle assessment. Implications for the green industry. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Publication HO-90.
  • Hansen, M.F., R.T. Fernandez and M.R. Penskar. 2010. Wildfire-resistant landscape plants for Michigan. MSU Extension Bulletin E2948.
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2010. Using an air spade to bare-root harvest large trees. The Michigan Landscape. 53(1):47-50.
  • Cregg, B., W. Klooster, A. Taylor, R.T. Fernandez and P. Nzokou. 2009. Container production for living Christmas trees. American Christmas Tree Journal, October Issue: 12-14.
  • Cregg, B., W. Klooster, A. Taylor, R.T. Fernandez and P. Nzokou. 2009. Container production for living Christmas trees. Great Lakes Christmas Tree Journal 4:37-41.
  • Walton, C. and R.T. Fernandez. January 2009. Fun and firewise: A community service project. The Michigan Landscape. 52(1):45-48
  • Fernandez, R.T., R. Betz and T. Dudek. 2008. Analyzing wholesale nursery production costs. MSU Extension DVD-029.
  • Fernandez, R.T. and A.L. Warsaw. July 2008. Improving water management to save money. NM Pro. 24(7):29-32
  • Walton, C. and R.T. Fernandez. July 2008. Replanting hope in New Orleans: MSU Horticulture Club returns for more Katrina work. The Michigan Landscape 51(7): 58-61.
  • Fernandez, R.T. and A.L. Warsaw. June 2008. Fine-tune irrigation volume, frequency to save water. NM Pro. 24(6):42-45
  • Fernandez, R.T. January 2008. GAAMPs and MAEAP: What are they and why are they important to the nursery industry? The Michigan Landscape 51(1): 57-60.
  • Fernandez, R.T. January 2008. Hands-on experience in nursery management at MSU. The Michigan Landscape 51(1): 47-48.
  • Hansen, M.F., R.T. Fernandez, and M.R. Penskar. 2007. Wildfire-resistant landscape plants for Michigan. MSU Extension Bulletin E2948.
  • Fernandez, R.T. and A.C. Cameron. 2007. MSU horticulture students volunteer for Katrina cleanup in New Orleans. The Michigan Landscape. 50(3):45-51.
  • Fernandez, R.T. January 2007. Water use efficiency in nursery production The Michigan Landscape 50(1): 61-62.
  • Fernandez, R.T. October 2006. Evaluating nursery microirrigation systems: Uniformity of water application. The Michigan Landscape 49(10): 29-31.
  • Fernandez, R.T. July 2006. Evaluating nursery irrigation systems: Uniformity of water application. The Michigan Landscape 49 (7):55-56.
  • Fernandez, R.T. February 2006. Roots in the real world. American Nurseryman p. 30-33.
  • Fernandez, R.T. January 2006. New water legislation being considered affecting irrigated crops. The Michigan Landscape 49(1):35-37.
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2005. Management to reduce late winter/spring cold injury for nurseries. MSU Landscape CAT Alert Newsletter. April.
  • Fernandez, R.T. November/December 2005. On the road. The Michigan Landscape p. 51-53.
  • Fernandez, R.T. September/October 2005. Use of nursery COPs – Part 3. The Michigan Landscape p. 53-55.
  • Fernandez, R.T. July/August 2005. Nursery COPs – Part 2. The Michigan Landscape p. 47-49.
  • Fernandez, R.T. May/June 2005. Nursery COPs. The Michigan Landscape p. 51-52.
  • Fernandez, R.T. January/February 2005. New resource for the nursery industry: Management practices for Michigan wholesale nurseries. The Michigan Landscape p. 51-52.
  • Fernandez, R.T. May/June 2004. Unfair competition? The Michigan Landscape p. 59-60.
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2002. What to look for in water quality and how to improve it.  MSU Landscape CAT Alert Newsletter June 28.

Recent presentations to industry audiences:

  • Fernandez, R.T. 2014. Do your plants have a drinking problem? Managing irrigation to improve plant growth and quality. Idaho Horticulture Expo, Boise, ID. January 23, 2014
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2014. It’ll cost you: Not understanding costs of production reduces nursery profitability. Idaho Horticulture Expo, Boise, ID. January 23, 2014
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2014. Stemming the off-site tide: Managing nursery irrigation and runoff. Ohio Nursery Short Course, Columbus OH. January 13, 2014
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2014. Keeping it cool: The challenges of overwintering plants in Michigan. MNLA GLTE, Grand Rapids, MI January 6, 2014
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2014. How water quality, substrates and irrigation management affects container plant production and movement of nutrients and pesticides. MNLA GLTE, Grand Rapids, MI January 6, 2014
  • Behe, B.K., P. Huddleston and R.T. Fernandez. 2013. Retail garden center displays and eye-tracking technology: Australian and U.S. collaboration. Webinar for Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria, Australia. May 13, 2013
  • Sage, L., B.K. Behe, R.T. Fernandez, P. Huddleston, A. Jones, T. Dudek and K. Getter. 2012 Eye-tracking reveals what catches our eyes. Great Lakes Expo. Grand Rapids, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2012. Groundwater Technician Training- Nursery Production.  July 26, 2012, Nunica, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2012. Research update: Nursery water management; Alternative pots for nursery production. June 7, 2012, West Michigan Nursery Growers, Grand Haven, MI
  • Cregg, B.M., R.T. Fernandez and N. Pershey. 2011. Tools for managing irrigation for container crops and field grown nursery crops. Workshop for Northern Michigan Nursery & Christmas Tree Growers. June 2, 2011
  • Fernandez, R.T. and B.M. Cregg. 2011. Interactions between irrigation and fertilization: Consequences of over-irrigation or under-irrigation. Workshop for Northern Michigan Nursery & Christmas Tree Growers. June 2, 2011
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2011. Water quality considerations for irrigation of nursery crops. Workshop for Northern Michigan Nursery & Christmas Tree Growers. June 2, 2011
  • Pershey, N. and R.T. Fernandez. 2011. Determining overhead/drip irrigation distribution uniformity and irrigation application rates. Workshop for Northern Michigan Nursery & Christmas Tree Growers. June 2, 2011
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2011. Irrigation distribution uniformity and system troubleshooting. Fruit*A*Syst Training. May 24, 2011.
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2011. Determining irrigation distribution uniformity. Webinar for Fruit Growers News. April 27, 2011.
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2010. Estimating costs of production for Egyptian horticulture businesses. October 21, 2010. Cairo, Egypt
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2010. Recording keeping required by World GAP for Egyptian horticulture businesses. October 20, 2010. Cairo, Egypt
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2010. Strategic planning for improved management of Egyptian horticulture businesses. October 20, 2010. Cairo, Egypt
  • Fernandez, R.T. 2010. Irrigation scheduling workshop: Using new sensor technology to determine irrigation schedules. September 20, 2010. Allegan, MI
  • Pershey, N. and R.T. Fernandez. 2010. Practical use of Theta probes and Decagon 10HS probes to determine container substrate volumetric water content. September 20, 2010. Allegan, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. April 2010. New trees and shrubs for your garden. Master Gardener College, April 2010
  • Fernandez, R.T. and R. Betz. February 2010. Using the nursery cost of production estimating software. Ottawa County. Hands-on computer workshop, West Olive, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. January 2010. What are your plants drinking? Managing water quality to improve plant growth. Invited presentation Indiana Green Expo, Indianapolis, IN, January 8, 2010.
  • Fernandez, R.T. January 2010. Do your plants have a drinking problem? Irrigation management to improve plant growth. Invited presentation Indiana Green Expo, Indianapolis, IN, January 8, 2010.
  • Fernandez, R.T. January 2010. Do your plants have a drinking problem? Irrigation management to improve plant growth. Invited presentation Great Lakes Trade Expo, Grand Rapids, MI for January 2010.
  • Fernandez, R.T. August 6, 2009. Summary of 2006-2009 water management research and highlights of the 2009 ASHS Conference. West Michigan Growers Meeting, Grand Haven, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. July 2009. Distribution uniformity and efficiency for seedling production operations. Northeast Forest and Conservation Nursery Association Conference July 23, 2009, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. and R. Betz. 2009. Analyzing wholesale nursery production costs. Ottawa County. Hands-on computer workshop, West Olive, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. and A.L. Warsaw. 2009. Drinking from the same glass: Managing water in container nursery production with changing demands on water supplies. Invited presentation Great Lakes Trade Expo, Grand Rapids, MI for January 2009.
  • Fernandez, R.T., R. Betz, and T. Dudek. Dec. 4, 2008. New software on determining nursery crops cost of production. MSUE AoE In-service Training
  • Warsaw, A.L., R.T. Fernandez, B.M. Cregg, and J.A. Andresen. Dec. 4, 2008. Irrigation research for nursery crops. MSUE AoE In-service Training
  • Fernandez, R.T., A.L. Warsaw, B.M. Cregg, and J.A. Andresen. Aug. 21, 2008. How much is enough? Scheduling irrigation to improve container production. West Michigan Growers Meeting, Grand Haven, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T., A.L. Warsaw, B.M. Cregg, and J.A. Andresen. Feb. 6, 2008. Water conservation through irrigation application based on plant requirement. West Michigan Growers Meeting, Grand Haven, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. and A.L. Warsaw.  August 23, 2007. Irrigation distribution uniformity and troubleshooting for fruit production. Traverse City, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. and A.L. Warsaw.  June 27, 2007. Irrigation distribution uniformity and troubleshooting for nursery production. Grand Haven, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. and A.L. Warsaw.  June 27, 2007. Irrigation distribution uniformity and troubleshooting for blueberry production. Grand Haven, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T., A.L. Warsaw, B.M. Cregg, and J.A. Andresen. June 7, 2007. Water conservation practices for container nurseries. West Michigan Growers Meeting, Grand Haven, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. March 15, 2007. Nutrient and water management for container grown trees. MSUE Christmas Tree AoE Workshop, Kettunen Center, Tustin, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. March 8, 2007. MSU KARE’s for New Orleans. Genesee County Master Gardeners Award Banquet Guest Speaker.
  • Fernandez, R.T., A.L. Warsaw, B.M. Cregg, and J.A. Andresen. February 21, 2007. Water conservation through irrigation application based on plant requirement. West Michigan Growers Meeting, Allendale, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. February 7, 2007. New and unusual shrubs for every landscape. Plants of Distinction program, Wixom, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. February 6, 2007. New and unusual shrubs for every landscape. Plants of Distinction program, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Fernandez, R.T. August 28, 2006. Determining irrigation system uniformity. West Michigan Field Tour, Grand Haven Area, MI
  • Warsaw, A. and R.T. Fernandez. August 28, 2006. Irrigation conservation, update on current research. West Michigan Field Tour, Grand Haven Area, MI

Horticulture Teaching and Research Center

I am the faculty coordinator for the Horticulture Teaching and Research Center 2001-present. I am responsible for facilitating research at the HTRC for faculty programs in Horticulture and other MSU departments. I try to ensure that faculty members have fair access to HTRC facilities and services and that there are no insurmountable obstacles to establishing and conducting research, teaching or outreach programs at the HTRC. I am responsible for determining user fees and establishing the HTRC budget and long-term planning to maintain infrastructure. I supervise the farm manager, Bill Chase.

HTRC use in 2008: 

  • 20 Horticulture courses use the HTRC
  • 90 projects by Horticulture faculty
  • 7 projects by other CANR departments
  • 2 projects by USDA.

Recent major capital improvements at the HRTC (coordinated with Bill Chase, Lorri Busick and others): deer fence installation, compressor replacement for main building coolers, winery mold remediation and cooler improvement (modified from 2 to 3 coolers), skid steer and tree spade acquisition, main irrigation well refurbished.

For more information, go to the HTRC website.

Program Areas

Ornamental and Landscape Ecology

Water management and quality for nursery production including source water quality, irrigation management and runoff water quality and management.

North Central Development Committee 216, Founding member 2008, Chair, 2008 – 2010; Past-chair 2010 - present: Co-developer of multi-state project Water Management and Quality for Ornamental Crop Production and Health. I initiated this project with Dr. John Lea-Cox of the University of Maryland in Feb. 2008 with the intent of focusing on water management and quality concerns at a national level related to the ornamental industry. The purpose is to foster multi-institution and multi-disciplinary research and outreach in this focus area. Currently the development committee consists of members from all 4 national regions including members from all ten of the top ten nursery production states. This has now been approved and assigned the designation NC 1186.

 

Science Education

The Horticulture Teaching and Research Center