Ornamental Horticulture
Research Center

The Ornamental Horticulture Research Center in Mobile is located in an area of Alabama where commercial nurseries abound, and that’s an ideal site for an applied-research facility dedicated primarily to supporting the commercial container-nursery industry. Research at the OHRC focuses on helping producers identify and address pest, disease and other production problems. Located in an urban setting, at 17 acres, the OHRC is the smallest among the Alabama Ag Experiment Station’s outlying units.

Current Research Updates

  • The multimillion-dollar loropetalum nursery crop industry in south Alabama is being threatened by bacterial gall, a difficult-to-control disease. Experiments aim to evaluate resistant cultivars, chemical controls, disinfectants used on pruning equipment and in propagation, and general best management practices.
  • Trials are focusing on best management practices for preventing boxwood blight disease, a fungus that has yet to be reported in south Alabama but that affects nurseries and the boxwoods throughout the country. Experiments also are being conducted on boxwood cultivars, evaluating them for resistance and ensuring clean stock is available if growers are unable to obtain desired cultivars from outside the state due to quarantines.
  • Several ongoing experiments are evaluating fungicides for the control of multiple diseases on various ornamental hosts. These fungal diseases are common and often difficult and expensive to control in commercial nurseries.