Research Stations - Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center
Dilip Panthee, a tomato breeding expert at Mountain Horticultural Research and Extension Center, looks over tomatoes in the station’s older greenhouse. The tomato breeding program has yielded more than 30 hybrids, including some of the most widely grown types in the eastern United States. These varieties have superior disease resistance and produce larger, more flavorful and longer-lasting fruit. Research in disease management and insect pest management at the center has resulted in major improvements to problems that have plagued tomato producers for more than 40 years.
Researchers based at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center are leaders in fruit tree research in the Southeast. For apple trees, they evaluate the quality of rootstock and varieties and testing tree spacing and training techniques. For both peach and apple trees, the researchers evaluate new disease and pest management techniques. The results from these studies help inform regional and national growers. The center also hosts evaluations of several other fruits including blackberries and raspberries.
Ornamentals and Nursery Crops
Plant breeders focused on ornamental trees, flowers and shrubs for landscaping working out of the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center have produced more than 50 new cultivars of plants, including a pink hydrangea (pictured) that has raised over $1,000,000 for breast cancer research, a thorn less flowering quince, and landscape grasses that are seedless and thus cannot become weeds. Researchers focus on developing new nursery crops for North Carolina farmers with superior pest resistance, greater tolerance to environmental stresses and enhanced commercial potential.