Research is focused on factors that will optimize performance of seedlings from the nursery through establishment in the field. Plant mineral nutrition, cold hardiness, stress resistance, dormancy, and drought resistance are areas of research designed to create hardier and more tolerant seedlings.
After establishment in the field, studies focus on planting design, fertilization, and browse and vegetative control. Improvements in this process will lower mortality and accelerate growth, allowing more successful stand establishment. A set of management guides to transfer this research into practical field applications was developed. These guides are useful tools for landowners, foresters, and nursery managers.
Developing restoration techniques for high-graded hardwood stands and threatened tree species such as American chestnut (Castanea dentata), butternut (Juglans cinerea) and Koa (Acacia koa) is another goal.