CSU’s horticulture team among the best at national competition

CSU’s Mid-America Collegiate Horticultural Society team with their awards. (click to enlarge)

The Mid-America Collegiate Horticultural Society team from Colorado State University, placed second at the national competition this fall.

The team, which consists of eight horticulture students, traveled to Crookston, Minnesota, where they participated in a general knowledge exam, plant judging, herbaceous plant identification and woody plant identification.

Team and individuals won big

While the MACHS team took home second place, individual members also won big: Every individual category had one to four names from CSU placing in the top spots. In the individual categories, Joe Bretz placed first in the general knowledge exam, and David McKinney placed third in woody plant identification. Jackson Burkholder placed second in woody plant identification and first in herbaceous identification, and Paul Furnas placed third in herbaceous identification.

James Klett, a professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture department, helped the team prepare for the annual competition by advising them on the necessary steps to represent CSU in the competition.

“They prepared for the contest in both the spring and fall semesters by having weekly study sessions,” Klett said. “We are extremely proud of all the hard work every team member put forth, and it showed in their placement.”

Growing indoor crops in cold climates

During their time in Minnesota, the team had the opportunity to hear keynote speakers from the horticulture industry and toured the University of Minnesota Crookston campus, where they practiced commercial tree climbing. The group spent their last day at a local deep winter greenhouse, learning about growing indoor crops in cold climates without heat sources.

“My favorite part was seeing how the greenhouses were set up on a different campus,” said Burkholder, a senior. “It was neat to see how familiar plants grew in a different place.”

Competition set for CSU in 2018

The final event of the weekend was a formal dinner and business meeting, where members of the CSU team gave guests an overview of the horticulture team commitments on campus and what they could expect to see from the team next year. The MACHS team is anxious for next year’s competition, and for the first time in over 10 years, it will be hosted by CSU in October 2018.