November 6, 2018
Architects around the world are now considering plants as an integral part of a buildings design.
Architects around the world are now considering plants as an integral part of a buildings design.
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre recently released its latest annual report that shares updates and findings of a number of research projects dedicated to horticultural science and innovation.

The 2018-2019 Innovation Report contains articles of interest to landscape and horticulture profession, dealing with everything from automated harvesting to biological pest and disease control and urban tree survivability.

In the report, the availability and cost of labour are cited as two of the greatest challenges facing horticulture growers today. Vineland is working with mushroom and cucumber growers to create technologies that can help automate harvesting to deal with the labour issue.

Developing new crops for Canadian growers to sell on the world market is a large part of Vineland’s mission. Travis Banks, Vineland’s bioinformatics research scientist has been testing six new varieties of tomatoes that will result in one clear winner by 2020. Only 60 per cent of consumers say they like the most common choices sold in grocery stores, and Banks is hoping his work will help to fill the void.

Darby McGrath, Vineland’s nursery and landscape research scientist is working on a unique project pictured above with architect, Brian Brisbin, that integrates a vertical forest of up to 500 trees with a luxury condo building in Toronto. In an effort to grow the urban tree canopy in a new direction, cities around the world are incorporating plants and trees into the design of urban buildings that goes well beyond a green roof or balcony garden.

Work by a team of Vineland researches is helping ornamental greenhouse growers to use organisms instead of chemicals to control pests and diseases. Rose Buitenhuis, Vineland’s biological control research scientist, and Ashley Summerfield, biological control research technician, say not only can biocontrols help to reduce costs, growers are also very happy with the improved health and safety for workers.

For a number of years, Vineland has been looking into factors that determine the survivability of trees planted along roadways and in large urban areas. The report includes a case study that shows how species selection and planting practices developed as a result of that research has been used in partnership with Highway of Heroes Living Tribute Campaign. Adopting the guidelines developed through years of research will help to ensure trees planted along the stretch of Highway 401 from Toronto to Trenton will help to ensure a healthy, lasting memorial to Canada’s war dead.

Located in the Niagara Region, Vineland is an independent, not-for-profit organization, funded in part by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Vineland researchers work together to deliver innovative products and production solutions that address the needs of the horticulture industry and advance Canada’s research and commercialization agenda.

The 40-page report can be found online at or at the link below.