Department of Agriculture
A 4,800 square-foot greenhouse will expand research against viruses that plague tree fruits.
As of Tuesday, May 16, 2017
PROSSER The local research center is home to a new greenhouse.
Officials with the state Department of Agriculture will dedicate the agency’s new greenhouse with a ribbon-cutting ceremony from noon-1 p.m. this Thursday.
The facility was built to support the state’s fruit tree industry.
“We now have a modern greenhouse that will make it easier to protect the fruit tree industry from virus diseases,” agency Director Derek Sandison said. “This larger greenhouse, with its automated features, improved temperature controls and watering system, will give us an increased capacity to test registered mother trees at a rate greater than we’ve been able to do in the past.”
The greenhouse is nearly 4,800 square-feet and is located at Washington State University’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, 24106 N. Bunn Road. It was built on 7.5 acres the state agency leased from the university.
It includes three separate growing bays with individual temperature controls that better duplicate temperature ranges where fruit tree viruses can thrive, officials said.
This makes symptoms readily discernable, increasing the effectiveness of virus indexing. The facility also features work areas for potting and a walk-in cooler. A separate storage building houses equipment.
It replaces a smaller, traditional WSU-owned greenhouse that had minimal temperature control and was used by WSDA staff for decades, they said.
The Fruit Tree Planting Stock Certification Program has nearly 35,000 registered mother trees that serve as a source for the propagation of trees that will provide millions of high quality trees to the fruit tree industry each year.
Construction of the greenhouse and installation of specialized equipment took more than two years to complete, state officials said. The project cost $750,000 using funds provided through assessments on nurseries that sell Washington-grown fruit trees.