Potting Mix Pioneer James Boodley Passes Away At Age 88

James Boodley
James Boodley

James Boodley, a Professor Emeritus of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture at Cornell University, research scientist at Smithers-Oasis Company, and a potting mix pioneer, died February 12 in Kent, OH. He was 88.

Boodley, along with Cornell colleague Raymond Sheldrake, developed the Cornell Peat-Lite Mixes, which came to be known simply as Cornell Mix, and transformed the greenhouse industry in the 1960s.

The pair based their soil-less mixes on peat moss and perlite and/or vermiculite combined in various proportions with limestone, fertilizer, and other ingredients to match the needs of different greenhouse crops. From poinsettias to potted bulbs and orchids to tomato transplants, these lightweight artificial soils provided good drainage, were free of weed seeds, and reduced disease problems for growers.

“Cornell Mix revolutionized the industry by providing a uniform and consistent soil-less substrate that made plant care and handling much easier,” says Neil Mattson, Associate Professor and Greenhouse Specialist in the Horticulture Section of Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science. “The Peat-Lite recipes formed the basis for modern potting mixes that are still widely used by the commercial greenhouse industry and consumers today.”

Before going to Cornell as Assistant Professor in 1958, Boodley received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. He was promoted to full professor in 1968 and served as chair of the Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture from 1970 to 1975.

In addition to developing the soil-less mixes, Boodley conducted early research on the use of artificial light to speed production in greenhouses, tissue analysis to assess the nutrient status of floral crops, and chemical solutions to prolong the shelf life of cut flowers.

Boodley taught numerous courses on greenhouse management and flower crop production and wrote the widely used textbook “The Commercial Greenhouse.”

“This is considered the bible by many in the greenhouse industry,” Mattson says. “Thousands of today’s industry professionals were trained from this textbook.”

In 1983 Boodley joined the Smithers-Oasis Company in Kent, OH, and was a Research Scientist with the company until his retirement in 1999. During his tenure, Boodley was instrumental in developing patented products and processes used in the grower industry today as well as protocol used in the shipping and handling of fresh cut flowers.

During his career he consulted, taught, and mentored graduate students, did Extension work, and was active in the trade.

Boodley was elected a fellow in American Society for Horticultural Science in 1982 and received numerous other awards and recognitions.

Boodley asked that donations be made to Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Horticulture Excellence Fund. Donate online or send checks, payable to Cornell University, to the Horticulture Excellence Fund, School of Integrative Plant Science, 135 Plant Science Building, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

More From Industry News...
Sporticulture Chicago Draft Flowers

May 16, 2016

Sporticulture’s NFL-Themed Plants Featured At 2016 NFL Draft In Chicago

The company’s plants were used as centerpieces in several locales, offering national exposure for Sporticulture’s team flower program.

Read More
FNGLA Wendell Bulter Award Winners Kevin and Theresa Riley, Rockledge Gardens

May 10, 2016

Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association Announces Industry Award Winners

All the winners of this year’s Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association Industry Awards will be honored at the group’s annual convention in Orlando on June 18.

Read More
Green Leaf Open House

May 8, 2016

Green Leaf Plants Hosting Two Open Houses This Summer In Pennsylvania

During the open houses, grower attendees can check out Green Leaf’s new variety introductions and programs, and take a greenhouse tour.

Read More
Latest Stories
Sporticulture Chicago Draft Flowers

May 16, 2016

Sporticulture’s NFL-Themed Plants Featured At 2016 NFL …

The company’s plants were used as centerpieces in several locales, offering national exposure for Sporticulture’s team flower program.

Read More
FNGLA Wendell Bulter Award Winners Kevin and Theresa Riley, Rockledge Gardens

May 10, 2016

Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association Annou…

All the winners of this year’s Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association Industry Awards will be honored at the group’s annual convention in Orlando on June 18.

Read More
Green Leaf Open House

May 8, 2016

Green Leaf Plants Hosting Two Open Houses This Summer I…

During the open houses, grower attendees can check out Green Leaf’s new variety introductions and programs, and take a greenhouse tour.

Read More
Farwest Show Floor

April 30, 2016

Registration Is Open For Farwest 2016 In Portland, OR

This year’s show takes place Aug. 25-27 and features educational sessions, nursery and retail tours, and an expansive trade show floor.

Read More
Ken and Deena Altman

April 20, 2016

American Floral Endowment Announces First-Ever Altman F…

Joshua Henry, the recipient of the scholarship, is pursuing a Master of Science degree at North Carolina State University, with a focus on plant nutrition of annuals and potted plants.

Read More
MeisterMedia_com

April 18, 2016

Meister Media Worldwide Introduces New Website

The horticulture world is changing at warp speed. From automation and robotics, to new strategies in pest control, to the rise of vegetable production and the farm-to-table movement, the 2010s has seen dynamic change in our industry. Meister Media Worldwide — publisher of Greenhouse Grower®, Greenhouse Grower TECHNOLOGY™, and Greenhouse Grower RETAILING™ — is leading that change in every brand we produce in order to help cultivate a sustainable world through the power of knowledge. You’ll see that commitment in our new website, MeisterMedia.com, where you now have more information available to you than ever before. Our editors are in the greenhouse and in the field, uncovering the trends, techniques, and technology you need to know. Whether you’re looking for information on ornamentals, or other markets we serve including fruit, vegetables, cotton, precision farming, or crop inputs, you’ll have easy access to the best intel through our company’s 14 brands. You’ll […]

Read More
Dramm 400

March 31, 2016

Dramm Corporation Celebrating Its 75th Anniversary With…

Beginning April 15, Dramm will be posting trivia questions on its website and on Facebook. Contest winners can earn free Dramm products.

Read More
University of Guelph campus

March 29, 2016

Ranking Of World’s Top Agriculture Colleges Includes A …

For the past few years, QS Top Universities has compiled a rankings report of the world’s top universities in 42 subjects. One of the categories is “Agriculture & Forestry,” and each year the list includes names that are likely familiar, and close to home, for greenhouse growers.

Read More
Roberto Lopez Michigan State

March 22, 2016

Dr. Roberto Lopez Joins Department Of Horticulture At M…

Lopez joins the MSU faculty after 8½ years at Purdue University. He will be involved in lighting and production research, and will also teach courses on structures and floriculture.

Read More
Katy Moss Warner

March 15, 2016

America In Bloom Elects New Officers And Board Members …

Katy Moss Warner, President Emeritus of the American Horticultural Society, was elected President of the Board, while three new board members were also elected.

Read More
american-hort-logo

March 15, 2016

New CEO Of AmericanHort Could Be Announced Soon

How close is AmericanHort to naming its new CEO? The search committee says it is optimistic a name will be announced before Cultivate’16.

Read More
James Boodley

March 1, 2016

Potting Mix Pioneer James Boodley Passes Away At Age 88

Boodley was a long-time professor at Cornell University and a research scientist at Smithers-Oasis. In the 1960s, Boodley and Cornell colleague Raymond Sheldrake developed Cornell Peat-Lite Mix, which revolutionized the greenhouse industry.

Read More
Garden Writers Association Logo

February 23, 2016

Garden Writers Association Rebrands To Reflect Expandin…

Now known as GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators, the rebranding comes at a time when the group’s membership has expanded far beyond writers.

Read More
Zinnia On ISS

January 28, 2016

NASA Astronauts Become Gardeners With First Space-Grown…

The issues faced by growing zinnias on the International Space Station offer several learning opportunities for scientists back on Earth.

Read More
Dummen_Begonia_UnbelieveableFirstKiss

January 26, 2016

Dümmen Orange Acquires Florexpo Europe

After acquiring the activities of Florexpo in Costa Rica in 2015, Dümmen Orange has also acquired Florexpo Europe, a company specializing in sales, marketing, and distribution of perennials, herbs, and grasses in Europe.

Read More
Katy Furnas AG 3

January 23, 2016

AG 3 New Sales Manager Katy Furnas Sees Opportunities I…

Furnas, who comes back to liner producer AG 3 after previously working there from 2003 to 2008, says one of her goals is to help her team have great customer service.

Read More
Ole Nissen

January 22, 2016

American Floral Endowment Past President Ole Nissen Die…

Nissen founded Sunshine State Carnations in 1960, and was involved in several state and national industry organizations.

Read More

January 16, 2016

North Carolina Greenhouse Owner Killed On January 6

Jesse Campbell, the owner of Campbell’s Greenhouses in Dilworth, NC, was known in the local community for hugging-longtime customers and resurrecting ailing orchids.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]