Research Areas


Yellow and orange carrots
Biotechnology controls cellular and biomolecular process to technologies and products that help improve lives and health. Earliest biotechnologist were farmers who improved plant and animal species by cross pollenization and cross breeding. Modern advances and breakthroughs help combat diseases, reduce our environmental impact, feed the hungry, cleaning and improving the industrial manufacturing process. Today’s farmers rely on agricultural biotechnology for insect and pest resistance, improve crop yields, and maximize drought resistance.

Vegetable Production

Vegetable Production research focuses on the construction and design of greenhouses–from determining location, size and shape to considering key materials and expense. Other research areas include hydroponics, insects and diseases and offer access to soil testing as well as relevant newsletters and associations.

Floriculture/Greenhouse Production

Floriculture focuses on the care, cultivation and management of flowers and ornamental plants. Research addresses specific flower types, like Poinsettias, as well as broad topics, like commercial floriculture and greenhouse production.

Plant Breeding and Genetics

Plant Breeding—the science of altering plants’ traits to produce desirable effects—continues to push boundaries in agricultural production, from global plant breeding to local sweet potato breeding. Whether at the Center for Plant Breeding and Applied Plant Genomics or the Mountain Crop Improvement Lab, NC State research is on the cutting edge.


Horticultural Substrates Lab

JC Raulston Arboretum

Urban Horticulture

Becky DeBosy
Urban Horticulture encompasses ornamental plants for use in city surroundings 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.

Weed Science/Pest Management

Weed Science and Pest Management encompasses how to manage weed control while ensuring crop safety; investigates the proper usage of herbicides and pesticides; and considers alternative methods for weed management. Home gardeners and large-scale producers alike benefit from weed management resources.

Organic and Sustainable Agriculture

Cherry Hill Research Farm

Organic and Sustainable Agriculture includes the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and NCOrganic. CEFS is a national model for partnership, innovation, and interdisciplinary cooperation. NC State and N.C. A&T State established CEFS with the N.C. 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, farmers, and citizens to provide agricultural research, extension, and education for our state.

Substrates for Container Plants

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.