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Crop Production and Management

One of the strengths of the faculty in the Department of Horticultural Science is the wide array of commodity-specific expertise in the area of production.  This enables our faculty to bridge between applied research and the delivery of that knowledge to the industry.


Dr. Dennis Werner walking in a field of flowers.
Dr. Dennis Werner walking among a field of flowers that he bred

North Carolina is one of the lead production states for floriculture/greenhouse production, ranked 4th in the nation with over $234M in value based on the 2015 USDA statics.  Research at NC State is primarily focused on problem-solving industry-related production issues.  Basic research and an active ornamental plant breeding round out a holistic focus of the floriculture research program.

Specialty Crops

Two women talking in a hops yard.
Dr. Jeanine Davis and Casebeer discuss latest hops production.

The USDA defines “specialty crops” as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). For most of us, however, “specialty crops” refers to the more unusual horticultural crops such as ginseng, culinary herbs, stevia, hops, and industrial hemp. That is how we classify “specialty crops” in our department and we have many faculty working on new, unusual, and emerging crops.


Dr. Brian Jackson displaying a plant wood substrate trial.
Dr. Brian Jackson displaying a plant wood substrate trial.

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 by a powerful research unit, the Horticultural Substrates Laboratory.