October 15, 2008
The Ontario nursery and landscape industry is receiving some help with research initiatives, industry projects and extension activities in the person of Dr. Hannah Mathers.

Hired as a senior research fellow based in Vineland, she will develop a research program for nursery/landscape in Ontario. “I am very happy to be at Vineland and to have the opportunity to work with such a dynamic industry and wonderful horticulture team as is at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), University of Guelph and Vineland,” says Mathers. “I will be working closely with Tony DiGiovanni of Landscape Ontario, Jennifer Llewellyn of OMAFRA, Dr. Rene Van Acker of the University of Guelph, Dr. Glen Lumis, formerly of the University of Guelph, Ontario nursery growers and of course the rest of the Vineland team, especially Dr. Jim Brandle.”

Mathers started on a research contract basis as a senior research fellow in early July this year. Currently employed as an associate professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science at Ohio State University, she is also the state extension specialist in nursery and landscape crops and co-chair of the OSU nursery short course that runs in conjunction with the CENTS Trade Show in Columbus, Ohio. Mathers also has extension and research responsibilities state-wide in Ohio. She is currently contracting her time and OSU program staff time to Vineland.

Mathers will be making regular contributions to Landscape Trades. She writes regular columns under the heading, “Out-and-About with Hannah,”  in Digger, the trade magazine for Oregon Association of Nurserymen and Buckeye, the trade magazine of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Trades Association.

Hannah Mathers was born and raised in Exeter, Ont. In 1978, she earned a forest technician diploma at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ont., and two years later received an associate diploma in agriculture at the University of Guelph. She worked four years as a program technician at a reforestation nursery in Kemptville, Ont., where she obtained a solid background in all phases of nursery propagation and production. Returning to school, she completed her bachelor of science degree in plant science at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Her master of science degree in horticulture was earned at the University of Saskatchewan, specializing in cold stress physiology. She worked for the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture as the nursery industry specialist. In 1997, she became Dr. Mathers, having completed her Ph.D. in horticulture from Michigan State University, with her dissertation entitled, Germplasm Evaluation for Cold Hardiness in Sour Cherry. She then went to work for Oregon State University.

Her work in Vineland will include visiting nursery and landscape operations to observe practices, recognize requirements and synthesize the information into a program to address the common needs and areas where the greatest gains in industry profitability may be accomplished. “During my first 12 months at Vineland, I will visit and survey growers, landscapers, industry members and affiliates. I will be asking questions primarily about irrigation practices and weed control,” says Mathers. “Working together with the industry and OMAFRA, the priority of issues will be determined, such as the ranking of weed control in relation to other pest management issues, access and availability to a trained labour force, access to extension information and programs on weed control, water regulations, nutrition and market expansion.”
Mathers may be reached at (905)562-0320 or e-mail:  mathers.7@osu.edu

Caption: Hannah Mathers works on nursery irrigation practices and weed control.