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Athens Farmers Market Assists Student Research Efforts on Local Vegetable Production

Do you ever shop at the Athens Farmers Market? If so, you may have been recently approached by TC Jayalath, a current Horticulture Graduate student, and asked to participate in a consumer survey about locally-grown, organic lettuce. More than 125 shoppers shared information about their buying habits, taste preferences and the visual appeal of lettuce grown at the UGA Horticulture Research Farm this spring. We would like to thank the farmers market, the shoppers and S-SARE (funding agency) for making this effort a fun and great success!

Athens Farmers Market Customers Volunteer to Talk about and Eat Lettuce on a Sat. morning!

Mary Jane Scarborough Receives Administrative/Professional Award of Excellence


Since 1987, she’s helped bring a sense of order and calm to the UGA Department of Horticulture, which encompasses three campuses, 71 faculty and staff members, a 90-acre research farm and 54,527 square feet of greenhouse space.

Since assuming her current role as administrative specialist in 1996, Scarborough’s organizational skill and dedication to the department impacts every departmental function, from the promotion and tenure systems, to class scheduling, to grant accountability.

“I have always told her that I am going to retire when she retires, as I worry about the department without her on board,” wrote one horticulture professor in his recommendation letter in support of Scarborough’s award.

Students, faculty and staff agree that Scarborough’s positive attitude and professionalism make their time working or studying at the Department of Horticulture a positive experience.

Scarborough’s rapport with the department’s 65 undergraduate and 22 graduate students also makes her indispensable. Graduating seniors often list Scarborough’s helpfulness and attention to detail as one of the reasons why they enjoyed their time at UGA.

Carl Hall Earns Skilled Trades Award of Excellence!


Carl Hall, farm supervisor at the UGA Durham Horticulture Research Farm, had a job working indoors once. He did not like it.

Hall feels that a bad day on the farm is better than the best day in an office, and for the past 36 years, he’s helped shape the Durham farm into one of the most productive outdoor laboratories in the state.

His ability to help researchers who are new to the Southeast and to the farm stems from a lifetime of working this land. Hall’s father was superintendent of the Durham farm, and Hall was raised on the site. He is a living, 50-year archive of the farm’s operations and knows what has worked and what hasn’t.

Over the years, Hall has designed experimental plots, built irrigation systems and prepared fields for research. His knowledge concerning the farm’s geology and layout would be indispensable in any situation, but is even more important given that the 90 acres is used by dozens of researchers in horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, ecology, plant biology and genetics.

In addition, part of the farm has been certified for organic production, and research must be managed differently and buffered from non-organic uses.

Hall has also proven his logistical skill and engineering prowess by inventing and building new equipment from scratch, like an onion transplanting wheel or a drip irrigation subsoiler—equipment that saved research assistants hours of labor.

In addition to his work with land and equipment, Hall is known as a patient, hands-on supervisor for inexperienced research farm workers, along with being a great cook.

UGA to Host Inaugural ‘Academy of Crop Production’

The Academy of Crop Production is a Southern-centric four-day (family-friendly) conference dedicated to sharing information on ADVANCED ornamental crop production and business management techniques for ornamental producers. Hosted by the University of Georgia and the Georgia Green Industry Association, at the beautiful Hotel Indigo. This is not a trade show, but rather a concentrated series of classes, open forums and social events that focus on important current issues facing growers. This program features an impressive national speaker lineup.

Click here to see the brochure.

And click here to register.Save the Date_Front

Kacey Jones To Join van der Knaap Laboratory Staff

10881654_677729652341372_1762247456045797913_nHort Department Alumna Kacey Jones was recently hired as a greenhouse/field assistant in the van der Knaap laboratory. Kacey’s responsibilities are to maintain the greenhouse and field programs on tomato and pepper fruit quality. Kacey has been working at an organic vegetable production facility, Professor Esther van der Knaap recent received a significant grant to work on tomato genomics. Congratulations Kacey on your next career step in greenhouse vegetables!

Hort Major Scores Magnolia Gardens as Internship Destination!

LandonBarkerCongratulations are in order for Miss Landon Barker, UGA Horticulture Major and President elect of Tau Chapter Pi Alpha Xi, whom has been accepted into the summer internship program at the Magnolia Gardens just outside Charleston, South Carolina! If you have not ever visited this historic garden, you must! Truly one of the more fascinating and beautiful places to visit in the South. Many thanks to Tom and Mary Ann Johnson for bringing one of our students into their program. Landon will be working along side students from Versailles, France this summer. Can’t wait to see this adventure’s photos! Go Hort Dawgs!

Shuyang Zhen, Michael Martin and Marc van Iersel attend LightSym 2016

Shuyang Zhen with her poster

Shuyang Zhen presented a poster on the importance of added far-red light to increase photosynthesis and the efficiency of photosystem II under LED lights.

The 8th international symposium on lighting (LightSym 2016) was held from may 22-26 in East Lansing, MI. The horticultural physiological lab was well represented at the symposium. Shuyang Zhen presented her work on the importance of far-red light on the efficiency of light use in photosynthesis. Her work has shown that far-red light can increase photosynthesis under LED light, because most LEDs excite photosystem II more efficiently than photosystem I. Far-red light can be used to restore the balance between these two photosystems.

Michael Martin and Marc van Iersel both presented the lab’s research on the use of chlorophyll fluorescence to optimize the efficiency of photosynthesis under LED lighting. Michaels’ poster focused on our work with the biofeedback system we developed. He presented data on maintaining different electron transport rates in

Michael Martin with his poster

Michael Martin discuss his poster on the performance of the lab’s biofeedback system with Melanie Yelton from LumiGrow.

lettuce. The poster discussed how different electron transport rates affected the quantum efficiency of photosystem II, as well as heat dissipation of excess light energy.

Marc van Iersel gave an oral presentation describing the importance of more efficient lighting in controlled environment agriculture and how chlorophyll fluorescence measurements can be used to achieve. The presentation covered how the biofeedback system works as well as how chlorophyll fluorescence measurements can be used in greenhouses to quantify photosynthetic efficiency and how that is affected by different light levels.

Shuyang Zhen wins graduate student competition at LightSym 2016

PhD student Shuyang Zhen with her first place certificate for winning the graduate student competition at LightSYm 2016

Shuyang with her first place certificate in front of her poster.

Shuyang Zhen, PhD student with Dr. Marc van Iersel in the horticultural physiology lab, won the graduate student competition at the 8th International Symposium on Light in Horticulture. Shuyang presented her research showing that far-red light can play an important role in optimizing light use efficiency of plants grown under LED light. Her work challenges the widespread perception that far-red light is used very inefficiently by plants. She was able to show that far-red can actually play an important role in assuring that plants can use all different colors of light efficiently. Her results attracted much attention from the many lighting companies present at the symposium, since Shuyang’s findings can help them design better lights for plant growth.

LaMont Suddeth Named Griffin Campus Outstanding Employee of the Year

SuddethMr. LaMont Suddeth, a member of the staff in the Horticulture Department at the Griffin Campus, was recently named Outstanding Employee of the Year by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.  LaMont is the Horticulture Department Greenhouse Supervisor on campus. and is also an accomplished artist! Congratulations LaMont for this recognition by the college…of course, we Hort Dawgs already knew you were the best!