Colorado’s Green Industry Donates $100,000 to Support CSU Horticulture Research

Leaders of the state’s green industry – encompassing all the plant producers and professional services that bring to life yards, gardens, golf courses and public spaces – have donated nearly $100,000 to Colorado State University for research in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

The donation will be invested, and annual earnings from the endowment will provide a steady flow of research funding for many years to come.

A group of Colorado industry associations jointly provided the gift. The group has annually funded research for nearly four decades; the endowment will allow a continuation of this support in perpetuity.

The funding will continue to bolster research of special interest to the green industry, said Stephen Wallner, head of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

“This research support is a nice example of partnerships our department and land-grant university have with Colorado agriculture. Our department is pleased to support industry needs with new discoveries, which ultimately help not only producers, but also home and public gardeners,” Wallner said. “We particularly appreciate this dependable research funding, which will continue in perpetuity.”

Donna Ralston, former executive director of the GreenCo Foundation and a leader in providing the donation, said the green industry is especially interested in research that suggests solutions to water scarcity for lawns and gardens.

“Most of the issues in the industry revolve around water conservation, water use and plants that are more drought-tolerant in our semi-arid climate. We’re interested in understanding everything from plant varieties to better irrigation techniques,” Ralston said. “Our industry continues to evolve, and research findings are critical to that.”

The green industry is a critical component of Colorado agriculture.

Total revenues for the green industry were estimated to be about $1.8 billion dollars in 2007, according to the most recent economic survey. The green industry provided almost 35,000 jobs with $1.2 billion dollars in payroll, the survey showed.

The industry encompasses the following sectors: landscape architecture, landscape contracting, nurseries and greenhouses, garden centers, sod production, lawn care professionals, and tree and shrub care.

“By donating these assets to an endowment established through the CSU Foundation, we can continue to support horticulture research that benefits the entire green industry for years to come,” said Troy Sibelius, former president of the GreenCo Foundation.