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Growing Healthy Oaks

Growing Healthy Oaks: Niagara College Students Share Research

With their unique root systems, oak trees can be tough to grow and often develop root defects during the first stages of growth when roots come into contact with the propagation tray’s walls. But where there is a horticulture challenge, there is also an opportunity to find solutions. Under the guidance of Professor Mary Jane Clark, horticulture students from Niagara College conducted a research study using the RootSmartTM propagation tray to help grow healthier white oak seedlings.

Student Daynan Lepore-Foster shared his team’s findings at the 2019 Landscape Ontario Nursery Growers Short Course earlier this year. Watch his presentation in the video below. 

The RootSmartTM propagation tray was designed by scientists at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, in partnership with A.M.A., to help prevent root defects during propagation. Since then, Vineland’s field tests have proven the tray’s ability to promote healthier, 360º root distribution, a more fibrous root ball, and better tree establishment compared to other propagation trays. 

The research at Niagara College is part of a larger project to re-establish native oak species in the local area. The students will plant the healthy seedlings in the Chautauqua community in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, where the acorns were originally collected for the study.

A.M.A. thanks the Niagara College research team for sharing their findings.

Learn more about the RootSmartTM propagation tray at or call us at 1-800-338-1136.