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Bundesforschungsinstitut für Kulturpflanzen


Institute for Plant Protection in Horticulture and Urban Green

Inhalt: Addressing harmful organisms and challenges in horticulture

The field of horticulture includes a variety of crops that are suitable for consumption, pleasing the eye, promoting biodiversity and enhancing health and well-being. Vegetables are among the basic foods - but the horticultural sector also produces ornamental, medicinal and spice plants, perennials, shrubs and trees. It thus shapes the urban green and has an important function for humans and animals. With its diverse functions, urban green also plays a central role in developing adaptation strategies with regard to climate change. Urban gardens and urban agriculture are examples of this. Our institute therefore develops environmentally friendly plant protection solutions and sustainable concepts for horticulture and urban green.

Understanding and regulating pests and pathogens

Climate changes, digitalization of plant production, technical innovations or changed production methods in the field and greenhouse as well as new crops lead to changes in the occurrence and biology of pests and pathogens in horticulture and urban green. The Institute does research in the fields of mycology, bacteriology, entomology and vertebrates to investigate the harmful organisms of horticultural crops and their natural counterparts. The latter are intended to provide preventive, indirect or direct protection for plants. For example, we are testing the benefits of specific flowering strips, the targeted use of beneficial insects, or intercropping.

Other methods developed by us, such as the application of hygiene measures in the management of rodenticide-resistant Norway rats, the SWAT prediction model for vegetable flies, automated assessment of crops or trap systems for early detection of pests, can protect the plants in a sustainable and ecological way. These and other methods are developed under defined conditions in the field, including organic farming (3 ha), greenhouse (~4000 m²) and laboratory.

The Institute's horticultural divisions include ornamental, medicinal and spice plants, tree nursery, vegetable growing and hop growing.

Adapting to climate and environmental change

An important approach to saving climate gases in horticulture is to reduce the use of peat substrate. Our institute is actively involved in the BMEL's peat reduction strategy and is investigating the influence of peat substitutes on plant protection in horticulture. In this way, the institute makes a significant contribution to maintaining the production and supply of horticultural crops and to counteracting the increasing influence of the horticultural sector on climate change.

Climate change also poses new challenges for our cities. We are developing adaptation strategies to preserve the multifunctionality and ecosystem services of crops in urban green spaces.

National action plan for the sustainable use of plant protection products

The aim of the National Action Plan on Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products is to minimize risks during and after application. Through the integrated use with the combination of different preventive measures, the use of new technologies and through the development of sustainable products and methods, it can be contributed to the closing the gaps in plant protection, as well as to the reduction of the use of plant protection products.