Rutgers-bred Dogwood Hybrids Formally Named After Legendary Breeder Elwin Orton and Rutgers University

Cornus × elwinortonii 'Venus.' Photo: Tom Molnar.

Cornus × elwinortonii ‘Venus.’ Photo: Tom Molnar.

Finally, two hybrid species of flowering dogwood developed by renowned Rutgers breeder Elwin Orton have been formally named after him and Rutgers University, which supported his prolific breeding career that spanned almost 50 years.

The two Rutgers dogwood hybrids, Cornus × elwinortonii and Cornus × rutgersensis, were developed by Orton decades ago and have finally been provided with scientific names in a paper published in the open-access journal, PhytoKeys, for horticulturists and garden lovers worldwide to add to their lexicon.

Cornus × rutgersensis 'Stellar Pink.' Photo: Tom Molnar.

Cornus × rutgersensis ‘Stellar Pink.’ Photo: Tom Molnar.

The formal announcement of the new scientific names for the now commonly grown hybrids across the United States, Europe and Japan was made by Robert Mattera, plant biology student in the Rutgers Graduate School–New Brunswick and USAID research and innovation fellow of the Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs at Rutgers; Tom Molnar, geneticist and associate professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology; and Lena Struwe, botanist and associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources and the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology.

Orton, professor emeritus of plant biology and pathology and well-known breeder of woody ornamentals, was inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame in 2012. To date, he’s earned more than 15 patents for new cultivars of dogwoods and holly he developed, earning the university over $2.03 million in cumulative royalties.

Read more of the announcement here.

“Eating Fresh is Eating SMART” for Rutgers Entrepreneurship Agriculture Program

Entrepreneurship Agriculture Program interns at Hort Farm 3. L-R: James Smith (SEBS '16), Arlan Rodeo (PSM '16), Andrew Boameh-Agyekum (PSM '16), Professor Albert Ayeni.

Entrepreneurship Agriculture Program interns at Rutgers Hort Farm 3. L-R: James Smith (SEBS ’16), Arlan Rodeo (PSM ’16), Andrew Boameh-Agyekum (PSM ’16) and Albert Ayeni.

It was only 9 a.m. but the August sun was already blazing over Hort Farm 3 on the George H. Cook Campus. The Entrepreneurship Agriculture Program (EAP) interns didn’t seem fazed, though.

Arlan Rodeo, a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program student, simply rolled up his sleeves and continued to dunk bunches of amaranth into tubs of water, cleaning the crop to be sold at the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market (NBCFM) later that morning.

“We sold out of amaranth very early last week. We’re testing a new volume today to see how much can be sold,” said Rodeo. [Read more…]

Rutgers Bee-ginner’s Beekeeping Course Gives Many New Jersey Apiarists Their Start

Acting Governor Kim Guadagno was joined, from left, by Robert M. Goodman, Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Rutgers; Marilou Halverson, New Jersey Restaurant Association; Janet Katz, President of the NJ Beekeepers Association; Lina Llona, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce; Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno; Douglas H. Fisher, NJ Secretary of Agriculture; Ryck Suydam, New Jersey Farm Bureau and NJ Senator Steven V. Oroho (R-Morris, Sussex, Warren).

Acting Governor Kim Guadagno was joined, from left, by Robert M. Goodman, Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Rutgers; Marilou Halverson, New Jersey Restaurant Association; Janet Katz, President of the NJ Beekeepers Association; Lina Llona, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce; Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno; Douglas H. Fisher, NJ Secretary of Agriculture; Ryck Suydam, New Jersey Farm Bureau and NJ Senator Steven V. Oroho (R-Morris, Sussex, Warren).

On July 31, in a bill signing ceremony at the Rutgers Gardens Farmers Market in New Brunswick, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno signed three pieces of legislation passed unanimously by New Jersey lawmakers in support of beekeepers in the Garden State.

“These bills collectively provide appropriate protection to New Jersey’s growing beekeeping industry, support the Garden State’s commercial and recreational bee industry, and heighten public awareness of the importance of bees to our food chain,” said Guadagno.

New Jersey has more than 3,000 registered beekeepers who tend colonies of honey bees, the official state insect, and other bee species like mason and bumble bees that are critical to crop pollination.

Many of these beekeepers, from all walks of life, got their start with Rutgers Bee-ginner’s Beekeeping course, offered by the Office of Continuing Professional Education at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. [Read more…]

Alumni Story: Kate Sweeney (CC ’79) – Team Player

Kate Sweeney.

Kate Sweeney.

It’s part of her signature on personal emails: “Go RU!” She is a member of the university Board of Trustees, a regular at the games of the Scarlet Knights women’s basketball team, a familiar figure at High Point Solutions Stadium, “owns” a few greens on the Rutgers University Golf Course, was co-chair of the search committee for the new athletic director, and more – in short, “an avid fan of all things Rutgers.”

A person of indefatigable energy who recently returned from a bird-watching adventure in Cuba, Kate Sweeney believes firmly in staying engaged. As Kate puts it, “When someone asks me to do something, I hardly ever say no.”

With a successful, busy career as a senior vice president, financial adviser and portfolio management director with Morgan Stanley in downtown New Brunswick, Kate holds Certified Financial Planner™ and Certified Investment Management credentials and enjoys a roster of clients that includes many who are associated with Rutgers. [Read more…]

What’s in Season from the Garden State: The Basil Battle – New Cultivars on the Horizon to Beat Downy Mildew

Professor James E. Simon and plant breeding Ph.D. student Rob Pyne in the basil greenhouse. After years of crosses and evaluations in fields and greenhouse, they are well down the path to developing a sweet basil variety resistant to the destructive downy mildew pathogen. Photo by Jack Rabin.

Professor James E. Simon and plant breeding Ph.D. student Rob Pyne in the basil greenhouse. After years of crosses and evaluations in fields and greenhouse, they are well down the path to developing a sweet basil variety resistant to the destructive downy mildew pathogen. Photo by Jack Rabin.

For the past seven years, a familiar scenario has been playing out on farms and in gardens across the U.S. A healthy, fragrant crop of sweet basil begins to display yellowing leaves. Upon closer inspection, the undersides of the leaves show signs of a menacing grayish sporulation. It is only a matter of time before the basil plant and others in proximity succumb to this new disease of basil, downy mildew.

Neither a fungus or a mold, downy mildew is the common name for a group of highly specialized plant pathogens called “oomycetes” that infect and feed off of living host plants. Each downy mildew is specific to its host plant. For instance, downy mildew of impatiens, another recent scourge, is specific to impatiens, while basil downy mildew affects only basil – with the most popular type, sweet basil, being the most susceptible.

Basil downy mildew favors heat and humidity, and by mid to late summer, when there is enough inoculum, the disease is widespread in our region. According to Extension Specialist in Vegetable Pathology Andy Wyenandt at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, basil downy mildew can’t overwinter in our region and can only survive the winter in southern Florida and Texas, where it is a year-round threat. The rapid spread to northern states during the growing season is through the planting of infested seed, by importing southern-grown plant material, or via weather patterns coming from southern states. [Read more…]