HortiBonn at the 56th DGG conference in Braunschweig

From February 28th to March 1st, 2024, 185 scientists from all horticultural disciplines - including a large number of young scientists - gathered for the well-attended 56th annual conference of the German Horticultural Science Society (DGG) and the Federal Association of Students and Graduates of Higher Education Studies in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture (BHGL) at the Thünen Institute in Braunschweig to present and discuss current research findings in horticulture as well as to network.

The keynote address was delivered by a graduate of our Bonn institute: Prof. Beatrix Wächter-Alsanius earned her doctorate for her work on apple replant disease here in Bonn in 1990 before continuing her career in Quebec, Washington, and most recently in Sweden. In the second keynote address, Prof. Traud Winkelmann presented progress in researching and combating apple replant disease due to repeated planting with Rosaceae, as well as the BIS1 gene as a reliable bioindicator. The main focus of this year’s DGG conference was on soil and substrates, with a particular emphasis on peat replacement using primarily organic materials. Overall, a wide range of topics were covered through approximately 60 presentations and about 50 posters. The Green Challenge, focusing on peat-free cultivation of Chinese cabbage, attracted lively interest with 6 student teams participating. The evaluation considered not only the appearance of the seedlings but also the audience’s assessment of the project presentations. The University of Bonn and the Agricultural Chamber (LWK) NRW each had 3 presentations. Dr. Michael Blanke presented on the sustainability of plastic use in horticulture, highlighting areas for improvement and current research projects, while Elisabeth Schwitzky discussed nitrogen mineralization in orchard soils and humus fractionation from her doctoral thesis and the long-term fertilization trial in Klein-Altendorf compared to a parallel trial in Dresden. Marcel Moll from Prof. Ralf Pude’s Renewable Resources working group reported on quality improvement and reduced blossom end rot in tomatoes through calcium application. The LWK NRW presented research results on tomatoes, potatoes, and nitrogen supply in vegetable cultivation. Also of interest were the development of new IP guidelines for fruit growing (Osnabrück), modeling of apple harvest processes, and a contribution from Geisenheim on mechanizing the cultivation of Torminalis trees for agroforestry systems. The conference proceedings are freely accessible at:
The 57th DGG conference will be held in Essen from 28th February to 2nd March, 2025.

Dr. Michael Blanke
Dr. Michael Blanke

My research interests include climate change effects on horticulture including frost, hail nets and polytunnels for cherry, carbon footprinting of horticultural produce and sensor technology for horticultural produce