Horticultural Science

Horticultural science research at the NCROC is dedicated to breeding new varieties of fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants and developing production systems that expand opportunities for quality food production and ornamental plant production in Minnesota. Our research works with several crops, including: 

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Potatoes
  • Hops
  • Annual flowers
  • Ornamental plants

The NCROC is the northern-most land grant research center in the continental U.S. and serves as a valuable USDA Zone 3 cold-hardiness testing site for the University of Minnesota’s fruit, vegetable, and ornamental breeding programs.

One of the main objectives of our horticultural science research is to develop unique production systems that include the use of high tunnels, transplants, and mulches to extend the growing season and expand opportunities for quality food and ornamental plant production. We’ve also established certified organic land and high tunnels to address the increasing needs of both organic producers and consumers.

Learn more about the individual horticultural research areas below.

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Berry Research

Jim Luby, Professor in the CFANS Department of Horticultural Sciences, discusses berry research at the North Central Research and Outreach Center. This video was recorded for our 2020 Virtual Visitors Day.

Apple Research

Jim Luby, Professor in the CFANS Department of Horticultural Science, discusses the University of Minnesota apple research and breeding program at the North Central Research and Outreach Center. This video was recorded for our 2020 Virtual Visitors Day.

Flower Breeding Research

Neil Anderson, Professor in the CFANS Department of Horticultural Science, shares information on the UMN flower breeding program and showcases some of the flowers and shrubs developed through research at the North Central Research & Outreach Center and the Univeristy of Minnesota's Horticultural Research Center in Chaska. This video was recorded for our 2020 Virtual Visitors Day.

Noxious Weed Phenology Research: Wild Parsnip and Japanese Knotweed

Rebecca Montgomery, Professor in the CFANS Department of Forest Resources, explains phenology research into the noxious weeds wild parsnip and Japanese knotweed. Visit peskyplants.umn.edu for more information on how you can become a Pesky Plant Tracker to help prevent the spread of these noxious weeds. This video was recorded for our 2020 Virtual Visitors Day.

Potato Breeding Research

Laura Shannon, Assistant Professor in the CFANS Department of Horticultural Science, explains the potato breeding process and discusses the research work that goes on at the University of Minnesota potato breeding research sites. This video was recorded for our 2020 Virtual Visitors Day.