College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

IAA Students visit the historic Mt. Vernon Estate

With its location on the Potomac River, 50 acres of extensive plantings, a greenhouse, and nursery, Mt. Vernon is a horticultural paradise and a dream job for some IAA students.  Thanks to the IAA partnership with the DC Branch of the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS), IAA students and faculty enjoyed a tour of Mt. Vernon’s grounds, led by Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture. 

IAA’s Sustainable Agriculture Advisor Ellen Polishuk appreciated George Washington’s gardens and his innovative farming practices that included crop rotation and production of a variety of seeds that he introduced into large scale agriculture production.  IAA Horticulture Advisor Ken Ingram marveled at the trees that were planted by George Washington himself in the 1700s.

IAA students Kelsie Birney, Collin Plumley, and Brian Knott enjoyed what some people call the world’s greatest view from the back of the mansion overlooking the Potomac River.  George Washington may be remembered as a great leader and military strategist, but he always considered himself a farmer and pioneered innovative agricultural methods.  He introduced the use of mules to American farmers and he kept meticulous records of his work with plants. The Mt. Vernon’s Ladies Association used these records to restore the estate to its 18th century form, actually using archeologists to find the holes of old fence posts when fences are rebuilt today.

 Mt. Vernon should be considered as one the nations great outdoor learning environments for agriculturalist and the IAA is pleased to have had such a learning opportunity.

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