Friday, February 26, 2016

TAMU Rose Breeding & Genetics Program Update from Dr. Dave Byrne!

Dear Rose Enthusiasts,

We have had a mild winter here in Texas and the current weather is quite nice. The predictions for the next week are for us to have low temperatures in the high to low 50s and high temperatures in the 70s. Nevertheless, Texas weather is predictably unpredictable so we will probably be getting more cold weather before summer rolls around.

In the program we have been preparing fields for planting rose seedlings, pruning, planting roses and peaches, and planning for the next set of rose pollinations. We have recently received plants from Greenheart Nurseries, Weeks Roses, Star Roses, and Chamblee’s Nursery and for more will come from Bailey’s Nursery, Antique Rose Emporium, Francis Roses, Chambersville Heritage Rose Gardens, and Seville Farms. All these will go into the Combating Rose Rosette Disease SCRI evaluations plots in College Station but also with Brent Pemberton in Overton, Texas, Mark Windham at the University of Tennessee and Tom Evans at the University of Delaware.

Last year with our collaborating rose breeders we managed to do about 3,000 pollinations and produce about 5,000 seed which are currently being stratified/germinated. For this we need to thank the participating breeders: Christian Bedard of Weeks Roses, Michele Scheiber of Star Roses and Plants, Ping Lim of Roses by Ping (Altman Plants), Jim Sproul of Roses by Design, David Zlesak, and Don Holeman. This year we expect to do even more pollinations.

Two species that appear to be resistant to RRD are Rosa palustris and Rosa setigera. Both these are native to North America. We have been fortunate to have collaborators collect Rosa palustris in West Virginia (Jim Amrine) and South Carolina (Jonathan Windham) and Rosa setigera from north Texas (Claude Graves and Dean Oswald at the Chambersville Heritage Rose Garden). We are always looking for more germplasm for our work.

Xuan (Jade) Wu & Shuyin (Sharon) Liang presenting their research at the TAMU Horticulture poster competition
Our students have been active in presenting their research. Ellen Roundey, Shuyin (Sharon) Liang, and Xuan (Jade) Wu presented their research at the Texas Plant Protection Conference in and Annual TAMU Horticulture and MEPS poster competition in December and just last week at the Plant Breeding Symposium. In the poster competition one has to explain years of research in 2 to 3 minutes to a panel of judges (professors)…not an easy task! Shuyin and Jade were winners with first and third place respectively at the Annual TAMU Horticulture and MEPS competition. Congratulations.

In January, Muqing (Mandy) Yan traveled to San Diego, CA to attend the international Plant and Animal Genome meetings and gave an invited talk entitled, ‘Map Construction in the Diploid Rose with GBS’. But what is GBS? This means Genotyping by Sequencing which is an efficient way to generate 1000s of DNA markers to help us select for specific gene variants that condition traits such as disease resistance. This technique has been shown to accelerate the new variety development in other crops. We are now working towards using it in rose to develop varieties resistant to the black spot fungus and the rose rosette virus.

At the meetings of the Southern Region American Society of Horticultural Sciences, Jon Corser, an undergraduate student working with Ellen Roundey and Jeekin Lau to count the chromosomes of roses, gave an oral presentation about their work. He did a wonderful job. He continues with this work and soon will be doing pollinations as well.

There are a couple of rose meetings that I would like to mention.

First, Jen Olson, the Plant Pathologist at Oklahoma State University will be giving an Update on Rose Rosette Disease at the Tulsa Community College Northeast Campus on Saturday, March 5th. She is speaking at the Consulting Rosarian School and Winter Rose Workshop event sponsored by the South Central District and Tulsa Rose Society (  Other talks include several by Don Meyers about pesticide use, Eric Rebek about insect problems, Don Adlong about soils, pH and fertilizers, and Carol Shockley about new rose varieties. Registration ends on March 1st.

Second, Mark Windham and Pam Smith will be talking about their experience and how to manage the Rose Rosette Disease in Allen, Texas on the 9th of April. This program is organized by the Collin County Rose Society and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. See the following link for more information:…/RoseRosetteEducationSeminarApr

In a couple of weeks, I will venture off to the snowy landscape at Michigan State University with four graduate students: Muqing Yan, Ellen Roundey, Zainab Mansur and Jeekin Lau. We will be participating in the Annual Meeting of the RosBREED II project where we will be meeting with fruit and ornamental breeders from throughout the USA to learn how to use DNA markers to accelerate our breeding programs. In roses, Dr. Hokanson and students from the University of Minnesota and our group at TAMU collaborate to find DNA markers to facilitate the development of black spot resistant rose cultivars. I will tell you about how the meeting went in the next Rose Update.

If you have any questions about our work here at Texas A&M University or how to support the Basye or Moore Rose Collection and Legacy, the Rose Breeding and Genetics program, and our students, please contact me ( We need your support for student scholarships and to maintain the many research gardens needed for an excellent research program. Your support makes our program possible. I try to post regular updates on the Rose Breeding and Genetics Facebook and the Combating Rose Rosette Disease Facebook pages.   Please check them out and like us!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

17th Annual Horticulture Career Fair - Feb. 24th

Horticulture Career Fair 

Wednesday, Feb. 24th from 10am - 2pm

In the Atrium of HFSB

This event is planned with YOU in mind. Whether you’re a freshman or graduating senior, this is your chance to get information about future jobs and internships. These industry leaders are looking for students interested in production, sales and marketing, viticulture/enology, floral design, management, and much more! The Career Fair is the perfect place to practice speaking with industry reps and potential employers. You may also want to ask them about future trends and what they are looking for in an employee. We hope that you will take advantage of this important opportunity!

                               Take a Company to Lunch!
How about a free lunch and time with company representatives? If you sign up to take a company to lunch, that is exactly what you will get. We are providing a free lunch for students to "take" companies to lunch. The lunch will be held on the second floor of HFSB. Sign up sheets are located in HFSB 204. This is based on a first come, first serve basis so hurry and sign up today!

Sign up for Volunteer Hours!
In need of volunteer hours? Help us run the career fair! We will need assistance the day of the career fair with the student check in table and various other needs throughout the day. You may work as little or as many hours as needed. We would be happy to have the assistance! Sign up sheets are located in HFSB 204.


Feb. 23rd Events!

Resume Review - Tuesday, Feb. 23rd - HFSB Atrium 10:30 - 12:30Stop by the atrium from 10:30 - 12:30 on Tuesday to have your resume reviewed by a career center specialist.

Horticulture Networking Event - Tuesday, Feb. 23rd (the night before the Career Fair) - Aloft Hotel - 6 to 8 PM. FREE FOOD.

This is a chance for you to meet the company reps in an informal setting. It is a great opportunity for you to socialize with the company representatives and talk to them about the industry, how they got to where they are, or any questions you may have for them. As an added bonus, many of the reps are former students! Free food will be served and dress is business casual.

 For more information visit:

RESUME REVIEW - Feb. 23rd! HFSB Atrium

Preparing for the 17th Annual Horticulture Career Fair?

Have your resume reviewed!


 Tuesday, Feb. 23rd - HFSB Atrium 10:30 - 12:30

Stop by the atrium from 10:30 - 12:30 on Tuesday to have your resume reviewed by a career center specialist. 


Horticulture Networking Event - Feb. 23rd!

Horticulture Networking Event 

Tuesday, Feb. 23rd (the night before the HORT Career Fair) 

 Aloft Hotel - 6 to 8 PM. FREE FOOD

Calling all students!
The Horticulture Networking Event is a chance for you to meet horticulture company representatives in an informal setting. This is a great opportunity for you to socialize with the company representatives and talk to them about the industry, how they got to where they are, or any questions you may have for them. As an added bonus, many of the reps are former students!

Free food will be served and dress is business casual.
Companies will also be giving away door prizes to students in attendance.

Don't miss this wonderful chance to visit with companies prior to the Horticulture Career Fair!

For more information about the 17th Annual Horticulture Career Fair, the Horticulture Networking Event, and a complete list of attending companies, visit:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Aggieland Saturday - Feb. 13

We at Texas A&M University invite you to Aggieland Saturday, an annual campus-wide open house for prospective students and their families

Stop by the Agrilife Center Exhibit Hall to visit with departments from the College of Agriculture and life Sciences. The Horticulture Department will be there from 9 AM - 2 PM to meet you and answer any questions you may have!

We will also be giving out free plants to those interested in the department. 

Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Annual Spring Plant Sale

TAMU Horticulture Club's Annual Spring Plant Sale! 


Saturday, March 5th beginning at 8 AM

Location: Lawn of Horticulture/Forestry Science Building (HFSB)

Varieties of vegetable, fruit, and ornamental plants will be available. More details to come.

The TAMU Horticulture Club's Annual Spring Plant Sale is the student organizations largest fundraiser of the year. Through it, students have the opportunity to compete in regional and national plant competitions such as ASHS. As in previous years, the sale will be located on the lawn of the Horticulture/Forestry Science Building. A variety of vegetable, fruit, and ornamental plants will be available. Details to come, so be checking in. For questions or to join the email list, contact the student group at

Howdy Farm Informational and Potluck!

The Howdy Farm will be hosting an informational for interested students on Thursday February 4th at 6:30PM! 

Join the Facebook event here!

"Come for food and fun while you learn about what it takes to be a Howdy Farmer! We will talk about why WE love the farm, why YOU should love the farm, and how you can get involved! You'll also learn about upcoming events throughout the semester and have the opportunity to make new friends!"