Tree needle retention project funded

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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BIBLE HILL - Nova Scotia Agricultural College researchers have been given more time to develop ways to prevent needle loss in Christmas trees.
The federal government announced $2.4 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund towards the $5 million project on Monday. The federal money will be paid out during a five-year period.
"This is great news for NSAC and great news for the Atlantic Canada Christmas tree industry," said Dr. Richard Donald, the college's vice-president research, extension and outreach. "This research is of fundamental importance for the future sustainability of this multimillion dollar industry and we are proud to take the lead on this project."
NSAC researchers have been working for four years to try to improve needle retention and quality of the balsam fir Christmas trees. The industry generates about $72 million annually in Atlantic Canada.
NSAC is a lead member of the Atlantic Canada Christmas tree research and development consortium that has developed the SMART (senescence modulating and abscission regulating technologies) Christmas trees and technologies initiative.
"This AIF project will focus on developing the technology needed to prevent needle loss, which is the most significant challenge facing the industry in Atlantic Canada," explained Dr. Raj Lada, a plant stress physiologist at NSAC.
The project was one of seven in Nova Scotia and 29 in Atlantic Canada to receive funding on Monday. The total federal contribution is $61.1 million.
"The Atlantic Innovation Fund is an important catalyst for building research and development capacity in our region," Defence Minister Peter MacKay said. "We are investing in realistic and achievable projects."
The government said since 2006, every loonie invested through the Atlantic Innovation Fund has resulted in $1.26 being invested from other sources.
The NSAC is partnering with the University of New Brunswick, private sector partners and the Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador provincial governments.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Atlantic Innovation Fund, Atlantic Canada Christmas University of New Brunswick

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Horticulturist
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    HA....ha....ha....ha....ha....ha...ha...what a waste of cash...... Dead plants drop their leaves. Any length of time from original time of cutting to when they are recut and plopped into some water hastens the problem.....c'mon Peter feed and shelter the homeless.

  • Sarah
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Horticulturist - Did you miss the part where this is a $72 million dollar annual revenue for Nova Scotia?
    NS Balsam Fir trees are already top-notch so imagine what the increase could be if these trees are even further improved!
    You have to spend money to make money and if it pays off in the end, surely it's worth it!