ORGANISING TRIALS BY THEMES
In recent years in the Netherlands the demand for a different type of cultivar trial has increased: the themed trial. Themed trials gather information on one property of a range of garden plants, like their winter hardiness or scent, or research the suitability of a range of plants for a specific use, for instance plants for green roofs or as street trees. Doing this type of research in addition to traditional cultivar trials has allowed PPO (Praktijkonderzoek Plant en Omgeving/Applied Plant Research) to increase its clientele. A themed trial often covers many aspects of a subject. This means there is usually a huge volume of literature available, so careful screening is necessary to use the most relevant sources. Field observations are not made on a trial field, but in real-life locations. This reduces the time and money needed for the research, but has disadvantages too. Because the plants are not in a controlled place, more things can go wrong. Also, a good relationship with the local research partners is necessary. Publishing about a themed trial can be done in more ways and in a wider range of magazines than is possible for a traditional cultivar trial. It can yield different products, like educational materials. For trials officers who are allowed to do contract research, doing themed trials might be an opportunity to have access to new clients and research budgets.
Hop, M.E.C.M. (2013). ORGANISING TRIALS BY THEMES. Acta Hortic. 980, 37-42
cultivar trial, methodology, woody ornamental plants, herbaceous perennials, plant use