The Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund (TREE Fund) is pleased to announce its 2014 Fall Cycle grant awards, totaling $201,000 to support urban tree research across the globe. TREE Fund researchers discover ways to combat the invasive pests that devastate community trees, optimize pruning techniques to minimize property damage from high winds, and develop soil management strategies to improve the health and longevity of city trees.
The total funding awarded for 2014 was $303,000 for tree research and education.
A $100,000 TREE Fund Research Fellowship was awarded to Dr. Alessio Fini of DiSPAA – Università di Firenze, Italy. Dr. Fini will evaluate how covering soil with impervious materials affects the urban ecosystem, including the soil’s chemical, physical and biological characteristics, tree physiology and biochemistry, and water balance in the urban environment.
The TREE Fund also funded one Utility Arborist Research Fund project, three Jack Kimmel International grants supporting arboriculture research projects worldwide, and two John Z. Duling Grants providing “seed” funding for innovative projects.
The grant recipients are as follows:
“Assessing horticultural products as alternative treatments for managing fungal foliar infections.” This research will evaluate the efficacy of three non-pesticide treatments used to manage common fungal diseases, compared to trees treated with water and those treated with fungicides.
“Effect of root-stimulating treatments on physiologic and growth performances of Platanus x acerifolia and Ulmus pumila seedlings.” This project will assess the nutrient factors most responsible for the transplanting success of the London Plane and Siberian Elm shade trees.
“Characterizing strain and load transfer in the root flare.” This project will look at the pattern of strain distribution in the root flare to ascertain how load transfers from the trunk to the root-soil plate. This knowledge will help tree risk assessors and arborists better evaluate the likelihood of tree failure.
“Development of a Business Case for Scheduling Utility Vegetation Management on a Preventive vs. Corrective Maintenance Basis” (Phase 2). This research has been exploring how to best determine optimum vegetation maintenance cycle periods and the tradeoffs between the relative costs of preventive vs. corrective maintenance. This second phase of the project will validate the algorithms that were developed in Phase I.
“Screening of actinobacteria for activities that protect trees against bacterial and fungal diseases.” This project will screen a collection of actinobacteria against six of the most notorious pathogens affecting virtually every tree species. The intent is to obtain several isolated strains with the ability to suppress growth of these pathogens and to promote plant growth.
“Development of molecular markers for redbay (Persea borbonia L.).” Red bay trees are dying because the red bay ambrosia beetle is spreading a fungal infection called laurel wilt. This study will initiate a small-scale analysis of 200 DNA markers of red bay to reveal the genetic composition of 80 clones commonly assumed to be resistant to laurel wilt. The markers will be useful in revealing genetic diversity, identifying resistance traits, and breeding for resistance.