Research Stations - Horticultural Crops @ Castle Hayne
Research at the station aims to help growers improve the quality and increase the yield of horticultural crops suitable for production in the Coastal Plain region of North Carolina. Research programs cover cultural practices, cultivar adaptability, new crops and the control of weeds, diseases and insects. Research is carried on through greenhouse studies and field experiments. Additional fruit and vegetable projects focus on cucumber breeding, evaluation of lettuce cultivars for Eastern North Carolina, weed control in vegetable crops and labeling of reduced-risk pesticides through the nationwide IR-4 program.
Small fruit research at the station focuses on developing pest resistant cultivars that are productive, have good quality fruit, and are well adapted to local conditions. The station is home to one of the world’s top public blueberry breeding programs, and new strawberry selections are also evaluated annually. Work with muscadine grapes includes evaluation of cultivars for potential use in freshmarket, wine, and organic production systems. Small fruit crops are an important dietary source of healthful antioxidants, and the station provides blueberries, grapes and strawberries for researchers who are investigating these health benefits at NCSU and other institutions nationwide.
Ornamental research includes herbicide evaluations on both container grown stock and field grown landscape trees to develop newer, safer weed control products for use by commercial nurserymen. Populations of American beach grass and sea oats collected from across the United States are evaluated for use in beach stablizing efforts along the North Carolina coast. The station also has a 2.5 acre N.C. Certified Plantsman Course for training.