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Posted by: Skyler Di Stefano on Oct 13, 2011

Mark Rowley Receives U.P. Hedrick Award

Utah State Alumnus Earns Prestigious U.P. Hedrick Award

A recent graduate of Utah State University’s College of Agriculture, Mark Rowley, received the U.P. Hedrick award, one of the largest honors in the field of Pomology, the study of stone fruit trees.

Part of Rowley’s thesis, entitled “Alternative Alleyways for Tart Cherry Orchards,” received the first-place award from the American Pomological Society. Rowley’s paper will be published in a future volume of the Journal of the American Pomological Society, and the award will be presented at the American Society for Horticulture Scientists annual conference in Waikoloa Village, Hawaii, in Septmember.

“This is an international society,” said Brent Black, associate professor in the Plants, Soils and Climate Department. “It’s significant for a student to receive this award.”

Rowley’s thesis addressed problems with organic fruit management and the challenges associated with managing insects and weeds in orchards without using pesticides. His research looked at how well cover crops suppressed weeds and the amount of water needed to inhibit growth. His research is especially pertinent for steppe climates, which includes many parts of Utah.

Rowley found that legumes could provide nitrogen for fruit trees, but required more irrigation water, which can be scarce.

“The amount of water that is used in orchards is a big thing,” Black said. “We only have so much water, and we have to use it efficiently,”

Rowley graduated from Utah State University spring 2011. The winning paper was a collaborative effort of student and professor research. Co-authors of Rowley’s project included USU faculty members Brent Black, Corey Ransom, Jennifer Reeve and J. Earl Creech..

“This project reflects on an interest that we have in developing the latest growing techniques and making them work for our climate,” Black said.