Go Behind the Scenes of Our R&D Lab and See How We Innovate!
At the Arborjet R&D lab, we’re always hard at work innovating new products for the future. Each of our products is tested for effectiveness against pests and for plant and applicator safety on-site to make sure they’re the best they can be. For example, we’re currently assessing the activity of AzaSol, plus two new actives, against Gypsy Moth, an invasive pest that has recently re-emerged in the Boston area. The experiment uses arenas (essentially glass jars with mesh tops) to learn more about the activity and the effects that different products have on Gypsy Moth. This “no choice bioassay” means the insects are presented with either treated or untreated foliage where there is no choice of alternative food options.’
As an extension of our R&D lab, we have an indoor greenhouse. This facility enables us to grow a variety of test plants throughout the year. We’re able to conduct evaluations on new products, including fertilizers and amendments, insecticides, miticides and fungicides, in a controlled environment year round – we’re always in the midst of innovating something new! For each treatment, there is a minimum of six plants to ensure accurate results.
Our ARBORChar® line is currently being evaluated with a number of plant species, and we’re measuring responses such as growth in height and development of leaf color. This way, we can see how well the product is working and in what capacity. In another study currently underway, we’re addressing plant response to different plant growth regulators (PGRs). PGRs may prove to be useful tools in water management (i.e., reduced watering), reduced drought stress and in labor savings (like reducing the need for pruning). We’re also exploring NutriRoot in combination with commercial fertilizers to study resistance to drought stress and enhanced plant growth.
Located behind the Arborjet building, we have an espalier, a wooden framework where plants are trained. This allows for a number of species to be intercropped. We’ve planted grapes, roses, hops, apples and lilacs, and they will be evaluated for pests and diseases like spider mites and powdery mildew. Eco-1™, our new botanical insecticide, miticide and fungicide, is also being evaluated in this plot – stay tuned for more information in the near future!
Located a few feet away from the espalier is our nursery plot, where different tree species are grown and treated. We also have a remote station in the middle of the plot that allows the research team to monitor soil, ambient temperatures and moisture. This information is sent to the lab computer and is evaluated on a weekly basis. We also have a roof weather system which measures wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, humidity and rainfall. We interpret this information through an integrated pest management (IPM) program, where alerts trigger our scouting for pests and help us determine whether applications should be made.
Figure 2:Our continual innovations at Arborjet help to combat invasive and destructive plant pests and improve plant health. There’s never a dull day in the “office”! Thanks for stepping into our R&D lab for a behind-the-scenes look at how we create and test our products!