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The Center for Applied Nursery Research (CANR; is one of two nonprofit organizations worldwide dedicated to the support and enhancement of applied nursery research. CANR serves as a regional (southeastern) research center for land-grant and private researchers who strive to provide applied research solutions to everyday/practical problems that ornamental plant producers face. Additionally, CANR serves as a regional clearinghouse for horticultural production information. In 2009, CANR awarded 10 grants (totaling $21,600) to researchers from the University of Georgia, University of Florida, Auburn University, and North Carolina State University. In past years, CANR has held an independent 'Open House' to showcase research projects conducted. However, in 2009 Dr. Chappell (CANR Research Coordinator and UGA Faculty Liasion) has created a novel partnership with the Georgia Green Industry Association, whereby the CANR Open House will occur during the GGIA WinterGreen Education Symposium and Tradeshow. This will benefit both organizations by adding a research component to the GGIA Education Symposium while increasing the visibility of the CANR across the state and region. The CANR Open House/ GGIA WinterGreen Education Symposium and Tradeshow will take place January 27-29, 2010 and as of November 19, 2009 has over 450 businesses registered (most businesses with more than one attendee). This is more than four times the maximum number of businesses that have attended any past CANR Open House and will dramatically increase the visibility of a vital component of the Green Industry.


The purposes of CANR are to provide a managed facility that simulates commercial growing (real-world) conditions and to fund ornamental horticulture research based on grower needs. This research environment allows scholars to test new ideas and products in an environment that mimics what growers in the region have in their individual businesses. It also allows growers and researchers to interact and collaborate on ideas/projects that are 'needs driven' rather than basic science. In addition to research projects, CANR conducts an annual open house whereby growers, researchers, and the public can interact and learn about the research conducted at CANR.


Research projects over the past 12 years have focused on agricultural engineering, environment and plant microclimate monitoring, entomology, plant pathology, soil science, horticulture, plant breeding and evaluation, new product evaluation, propagation, and water management. Members of the Green Industry are invited to visit this work in progress, interact candidly with researchers to provide feedback on research ideas and results, and present questions and needs for research projects. There were 10 projects for 2009 directed by researchers from the University of Georgia, Auburn University, University of Florida, and North Carolina State University on a wide range of topics including: • Investigating the Disinfestation Properties of Irrigation Water in Commercial Nurseries • Identifying Non-invasive Cultivars for the Green Industry • New Ornamental Perennial Peanut Selections for Southern Landscapes • Evaluation of Elite Selections from UGA Blueberry Breeding Program as Edible Landscape Plants • Evaluation of Actino Iron Incorporation in Container Production • Developing Sterile Plants for the Nursery Industry • Investigation of the Possible Causes of Distorted Growth Seen in Itea virginica • Vegetative Propagation of Southern Ecotypes of Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel) and K. hirsute (Sandhill Laurel) • Evaluating Miscanthus Cultivars in Georgia for Invasive Potential • Evaluating Novel Germplasm for Ornamental Traits


The Center for Applied Nursery Research is the only public applied nursery research facility in the southeastern United States operated outside of an academic setting. Industry members, researchers, and the public continue to benefit from this arrangement. Despite a downturn in the Green Industry due to the prolonged drought and regional economic slowdown, attendees overwhelmingly (88%) noted that they would attend future open house events and agreed that the CANR is beneficial to the Green Industry in the Southeastern U.S. (92%). Some of the previous comments on the evaluation form included: “Keep it up! The Open House is one of the few events where I actually feel like I learn something NEW.” “CANR always seems to be one step ahead of the curve and when they are not… it sure does not take long to catch up.” “Great venue for a meeting! It is nice to see new plant material being evaluated in a grower's environment.” “I liked the change- moving all talks under a tent. It was good to hear all of the questions that I had not thought to ask.”

State Issue

Agricultural Profitability and Sustainability


  • Year: 2009
  • Geographic Scope: Multi-State/Regional
  • County: McDuffie
  • Program Areas:
    • Agriculture & Natural Resources


  • Chappell, Matthew


CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Ruter, John M.
  • Watson, Frank M.
  • Williams-Woodward, Jean

Non-CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Center for Applied Nursery Research
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