Tested nationally and proven locally is more than a slogan at All-America Selections (AAS). Before an AAS Winner is introduced, it is tested at independent test sites throughout the United States and Canada. These test sites are called AAS Trial Grounds. A trial ground is a test site that conducts side-by-side comparison trials.
Each trial ground has at least one official AAS judge, who supervises the trial and evaluates entries for AAS at no charge. Typically, the judge is a horticultural professional and the site is part of a seed company’s trial grounds, university or other horticultural institution. All judges and trial sites are approved by the AAS board with the objective of having well-managed sites in different parts of North America.
Judges are responsible for conducting the trial of entries and the closest comparisons on the market. They evaluate entries looking for desirable qualities such as novel flower forms, flower colors, flower show above foliage, fragrance, length of flowering season and disease or pest tolerances or resistance. Vegetables are judged looking for traits such as earliness to harvest, total yield, fruit taste, fruit quality, ease of harvest, plant habit and disease and pest resistance.
Judges evaluate AAS trials all season, and then based on the superior qualities, each judge scores each entry. Only the entries with the highest average scores are considered to be worthy of an AAS award.
Trial Ground Criteria
The trial grounds themselves must also make the grade. Here are the criteria AAS has established for trial grounds:
–A two- to three-year minimum history of conducting side-by-side comparison trials with a person (or team) responsible for the note-taking and evaluation of performance on a regular basis.
–The AAS trials should be incorporated into an existing comparison trial.
–The AAS trials will not be conducted at a private residence.
–The person to be considered for a judge should have a record of careful and methodical evaluation of flowers or vegetables. Academic credentials will be considered.
–The trial ground must have a record of conducting trials in an environmentally safe and attractive landscape. AAS expects trials to be carefully maintained. Growing practices are outlined by AAS.
–The geographical location of the trial site will be given careful consideration by the AAS board. The board approves applications that are located a distance from a current AAS trial.
–Each prospective judge is interviewed to learn the available resources the organization or company currently has allocated to conducting trials, as well as testing and evaluation procedures and willingness to commit the time to the AAS program.
–AAS is very cautious regarding a trial ground that relies entirely on volunteers to evaluate and/or maintain the trial grounds.
Those who meet this criteria and have an interest in hosting an AAS Trial Ground may contact AAS at [email protected]. For a complete listing of all AAS Trial Grounds, visit www.all-americaselections.org.