JARS v36n4 - Report of Research Committee

Report of Research Committee
By August E. Kehr, Hendersonville, North Carolina

With this report, the new logo for the American Rhododendron Society's Research Foundation is introduced. This logo will be used with all reports of work funded by the Research Foundation Thus, any research paper published in the Journal and funded by the Foundation will be readily identified as having received support from your Foundation.

ARS Research Foundation Logo

Another new development which was initiated by the Board of Directors at their meeting in Washington in May was to authorize a research committee chairman in each local chapter. This chairman will have two functions: (1) to discuss with the membership of the local chapter problems found in rhododendrons and azaleas and to suggest areas of research in which research proposals should be solicited for possible funding; (2) to encourage local membership contributions to the Foundation. Starting with 1983, there will be an opportunity for members to make optional contributions to the Research Foundation on the same form that is used for dues payments.
All contributions to the Foundation remain in the principal of the Foundation permanently. Research each year is funded from earnings from the principal. The Trustees adopted an amendment to the legal document under which the trust operates prohibiting any invasion of the corpus of the trust by the Trustees at any time. Starting in 1983 the checks will be mailed to the recipients of research grants by the chairman of the research committee of the nearest local chapter. In this way local chapters will be aware of research work supported by the Society in their areas.

In 1981 two research projects were funded by the Society as follows:

(1). Control of azalea petal blight
Dr. Robert C. Lambe
Va. Polytechnic Institute Blacksburg, VA.

Summary of Progress:
Three tests were conducted at the Norfolk Botanic Gardens to evaluate fungicides for the protection of azalea flowers from petal blight. Three azalea cultivars were included in the tests; Macrantha, Martha Hitchcock and Hershey Red. Petal blight was favored by temperatures of 59-68°F (15-20°C) and moisture on the petals. Thus far the chemical Bayleton has shown most promising results. The research is still continuing.

(2). Biosystematic studies on the lepidote rhododendrons of the S.E. United States
Mr. William Gensel
N.C. State Univ.
Raleigh, N.C.

Summary of Progress:
Field work is mostly finished and a large volume of information has been gathered on flower colors, flower sizes, leaf and plant characteristics, and plant collections. Laboratory work is under way including scanning electron microscopy of leaf surface features, seeds and pollen, seedling morphology, leaf venation patterns, chromosome studies, and pollination biology. This research will form a basis for systematic relationships of Rhododendron carolinianum , Rhododendron minus , and Rhododendron chapmanii which in a 1962 publication were proposed to be lumped into one species. Selected plants collected in the wild have been sent to the Species Foundation.

In 1982 a total of 12 proposals for research were received. These were evaluated and rated by the Research Committee and recommendations were made to the Trustees of the ARS Research Foundation for funding. The Trustees voted to fund the following:
(1). A Biosystematic Study of Rhododendron occidentale (T&G) Gray
Dr. Robert Stockhouse
Pacific University
Forest Grove, OR.

(2). The Timing of Microsporogenesis in Deciduous Azaleas
Mr. Mark Widrlechner
Dept. of Horticulture
University of Minn.
St. Paul, Minn.

(3). Integrated Biological and Chemical Control of Phytopthora Root Rot of Azaleas and Rhododendrons
Mr. W.H. Willis
Dept. of Plant Pathology
Va. Polytechnic Institute
Blacksburg, VA.

(4). Dieback of Landscape Azaleas with Special Reference to Phomopsis Cancer
Dr. J.T. Walker
Dept. of Plan: Pathology
Georgia Agr'l Experiment Station
Experiment, GA.

(5). Investigations on the Use of Organic Soil Amendments for the Control of Phytopthora Root Rot of Azaleas
Mr. Peter H. Tsao
Dept. of Plant Pathology
Univ. of California
Riverside, CA.

(6). Influence of Nitrogen Nutrition on Flower Bud Initiation of Rhododendron
Dr. Robert D. Wright
Dept. of Horticulture
Va. Polytechnic Institute
Blacksburg, VA.

The Research Committee has been deeply disappointed in the lack of support given by the rank and file of the ARS membership to the Research Fund. A large percentage of the funds donated to the Foundation to date has come from a very small number of people, less than 3%.