Our Research Focus:
The long-term goals of our strawberry research:
- The optimization of strawberry nursery operations and the development of clean plant material
- The development of sustainable and extended strawberry growing systems
- The screening of advanced strawberry cultivars for the Southeast (collaborative effort)
The long-term goals of our grape research:
- Developing management strategies for grape trunk and virus diseases in the Southeast (collaborative effort)
- Development of flower-bud conditioning methods and annual cropping systems for grapes
- Optimize cultural management methods for muscadine (V. rotundifolia) vineyards.
- The screening of advanced grape cultivars for the Southeast (collaborative effort)
Our Core Capacities:
(1) Development and evaluation of greenhouse and field-trials:
We are experts in developing field and greenhouse trials for grape and strawberry systems. We possess the capacity in both crops to develop hydroponic trials under LED lights, trials on research farms and on-farm research trials and demonstrations. We have a greenhouse facitlity and access to research farms in NC. Our team preforms strawberry and grape field trials on a annual basis and we are able to assess the following physiological parameters in-house: Chlorophyll content, tissue nutrients, flower development, phyto-toxicity, yield, basic berry chemistry and berry texture. We perform routine statistical analytics, using SAS and R-Studio.
Strawberry specific: daughter plant evaluation, stolon development, Image-J assisted assessment of flower damage; Assessment of soil-borne pathogens (P. ultimum).
Grape specific: cluster densities, berry weight, disease incidence and severity (both muscadine and European-style winegrapes), cluster/leaf area ratio, leaf area measurements.
We further can rely on a large network of inter-disciplinary collaboration partners, from controlled environment specialists over entomologists and plant pathology experts to post-harvest physiologists.
(2) Root System Analysis
One of our focus areas is the analysis of crop root systems. We have the capacity and experience to assess root system morphology of strawberry and grape crops, using the following programs: WinRhizo Pro, Rhizotrack, SmartRoot (Image J based application). We are currently developing root system phenotyping systems, using Matlab and Image J based software.