33 Plant Science
Nina Bassuk obtained her PhD in Horticulture from the University of London, UK and is currently a professor and program leader of the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University. She also sits on the executive board of the New York State Urban Forestry Council. Nina is co- author of 'Trees in the Urban Landscape,' a text for landscape architects and horticultural practitioners on establishing trees in disturbed and urban landscapes. A native New Yorker, Nina's has authored over 100 papers focusing on the physiological problems of plants growing in urban environments, including improved plant selections for difficult sites, soil modification including the development of 'CU-Structural Soil' and improved transplanting technology. She is on the Technical advisory committee of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) and works closely with municipalities to help implement best practices in urban forestry management. Nina helped to develop the Student Weekend Arborist Team (SWAT) to inventory public trees in small communities. She is a frequent invited speaker at conferences and workshops and most recently received the Scott Medal for Horticulture.
I work on improving the quality of urban life by enhancing the functions of plants within the urban ecosystem. We integrate plant stress physiology, horticultural science, plant ecology and soil science and applies them to four broad areas of inquiry. They are: 1) The selection, evaluation and propagation of superior plants with improved tolerance of biotic and abiotic stresses, and enhanced functional uses in the disturbed landscape. 2) Developing improved technologies for assessing and ameliorating site limitations to improve plant growth and development. 3) Developing improved transplant technologies to insure the successful establishment of plants in the urban environment.
I work with municipalities to assess and manage their urban tree resources while applying appropriate technologies. Our outreach efforts use publications, websites, and face-to-face contact through meetings, conferences and field days.
Our courses focus on the identification, uses and establishment of woody plants in urban and garden settings. By understanding the environmental limitations to plant growth, we will be able to critically assess potential planting sites, select appropriate trees, shrubs, vines and ground covers for a given site, and learn about the principles and practices of site amelioration and plant establishment. Design followed by written specifications and graphic details will be produced to implement these practices.