March 15, 2015
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre will continue in 2015 to monitor the Greening the Highways project.

The project was initiated in 2008 to provide Ontario nursery growers with opportunities to diversify the range of tree species in production, particularly for crops destined for highway roadside planting. With the support of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and Landscape Ontario, Vineland Research has been investigating causes of highway tree mortality in Ontario to improve tree establishment in these ecosystems.

Soil remediation findings and plant community findings will be combined into a manual of recommendations for urban plantings at the close of this project. In 2015 Vineland will also continue to rewrite the draft of the soil specifications for planting with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

In 2013, Vineland began evaluating the planting conditions (i.e., soil, temperature) of typical right-of-way highway systems. Two sites were chosen for the initial evaluations. The sites were planted in the fall of 2012 (along Highway 406 in Thorold) and operated as the control and baseline of site characterization for future research. In 2013, it was found that soil structure and composition were the main limiting factors in plant survival in these systems.

The project has evolved into Greening the Canadian Highways, with the support of the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance. The project has been awarded funding by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada through the Agricultural Innovation Program. The funding will carry the project through to 2018.