The Polli research institute for horticulture was founded in 1945 by the decree of the ministry of agriculture. Long time it belonged to the Estonian Institute of Agriculture and Land Reclamation as the department of fruit growing. Since 1994 it was included to the Estonian Agricultural University in rights to institute.
The present name since 2005 is: Estonian University of Life Sciences Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Polli Horticultural Research Centre
Professor Doctor Aleksander Siimon (1900-1970), an outstanding horticulturist, was appointed to the first director of the new institution, including for many years (in addition to fruit science) also experiments in apiculture, vegetable growing and ornamental plants. A. Siimon remained for director occupation up to his serious illness in 1968. However, he was eliminated for political reason from this post 1950 - 1956. The next director PhD Edgar Haak supervised the institution 1968 - 1992. PhD Toivo Univer engaged the director occupation 1995 - 2003, followed by PhD Ave Kikas.
Research in fruit cultivating
Polli has a suitable site with characteristic soil and climate in South Estonia which belongs to one of the best region for fruit growing in the republic. The main directions of the research are the following:
Breeding apple, (pear), plum, sweet cherry, black currant, and raspberry new cultivars; in earlier decades, the breeding of sour cherry, red currant, white currant, strawberry, and gooseberry also took place.
Scientific research in new technologies of fruit and berry cultivating, plant protection, and organic gardening.
Introducing new cultivars for fruit and berry production in Estonia; testing them for evaluation of their perspective for cultivating.
Investigating new crops: sea buckthorn, edible honeysuckle, sorb.
Breeding of apple vegetative rootstocks.
Preserving genetic diversity and cultivars' resources of fruit and berry crops of Estonian origin.
Polli is a practical basis for provision of horticultural education in fruit science for the students: introducing the diversity of cultivars and fruit crops, experiments in fruit gardens, and supervision of post-graduate students, and applicants for doctor's degree.