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Areas of Expertise in Horticulture Research

The Department of Horticultural Science is recognized, both nationally and internationally, as a leader in innovative research in a broad-range of applied and basic research. We train exceptional graduate students and provide answers that address industries needs for knowledge and techniques to remain competitive. Research faculty in the Horticultural Science Department work collaboratively in graduate training and research. The quality of our department's research programs is substantiated by the number of awards that the faculty and graduate students have received at the University, State, Regional, and National levels.



Plant Breeding and Genetics

Fruit Production

Floriculture / Greenhouse Production

Vegetable Production

Vegetable Production includes Greenhouse Vegetable Production. We study Construction and Design, with West Virginia University/University of Maryland; Planning and Building a Greenhouse; Greenhouse Construction and Cost Estimates; A small backyard greenhouse for the home gardener, Hydroponics Online; and more about tomatoes, insects, diseases, newsletters, associations and short courses, and tissue analysis.

Weed Science / Pest Management (Insects & Diseases)

Weed Science is an integral part of the North Carolina State Department of Horticultural Science. The mission is to provide innovative research, outreach and extension programs in weed science and weed management. These programs encompass field residue, crop safety, weed control and management systems, herbicide development and efficiency, and alternative methods for weed management.

Urban Horticulture

Urban Horticulture encompasses ornamental plants for use in city surroudings as well as crops for human consumption. Urban gardening crops include a large variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers and trees. While many cultivated crops vary by geographic location, they are often influenced by tradition and culture.

Specialty Crop Production

Specialty Crops are new crops that have not been commercially grown in a particular region.  Ranging from exotic purple potatoes to more commonly known crops like lettuce, producing specialty crops generally introduces farmers to a new way of growing.  The North Carolina Specialty Crops Program was a multi-agency, statewide program dedicated to new crop development.  It operated from 1997 to 2008 under the leadership of Barclay Poling (1997-1999), Jeanine Davis (1999-2007), and Bill Jester (2008).  The program has now ended due to lack of funding, but Jeanine Davis has agreed to maintain the website with the historical information from the program and to continue to serve as a resource on new and specialty crops for farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers.

Organic / Sustainable Agriculture

Organic and Sustainable Agriculture includes CEFS and NCOrganic.  CEFS is a national model for partnership, innovation and interdisciplinary cooperation. North Carolina State University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University established the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at the Cherry Farm facility near Goldsboro, N.C., in 1994.  These partners work closely with state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations (for example, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Rural Advancement Foundation International, North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation), farmers, and citizens to provide agricultural research, extension, and education for our state.

NC Organic is an internet resource for North Carolina farmers, extension agents, and aspiring growers. Even with the economic recession, the organic sector of agriculture continues to grow, making it the fastest growing segment in the United States. North Carolina consumers are committed to supporting local agriculture while most of our state's organic produce is imported from other states. The demand for organically-grown food presents a real opportunity for NC farmers.

Substrates for Container plants

Substrates for Greenhouse and Nursery Production. Each day we face new challenges in floriculture.  Growers are aware of the current emphasis being placed on water quality, water conservation, and the reduction of runoff from agricultural industries. Another issue that reaches beyond floriculture and affects society as a whole is solid waste management and waste product utilization. Here at NC State, these issues are being addressed. Faculty within the Department of Horticultural Science have combined their expertise and formed a powerful research unit, the Horticultural Substrates Laboratory.

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