Research in this area emphasizes crop management practices and technologies that help to optimize the profitability and sustainability of agronomic cropping systems and include variety selection, weed management, tillage, crop rotation and selection, and management of plant nutrients.
Research is being conducted to study the genetic control of tomato diseases, flowering and gravitropism. The cocoa genome was recently mapped and genetic control of disease resistance and secondary metabolites are being investigated.
Areas of research focus on testing of plant species and hardware materials for green roofs; cultivar evaluations, cultural practices and pest control for Christmas trees; and roadside vegetation management. The effect of air pollutants on plant growth is being investigated.
The role of root architecture and root morphology on plant water relations and nutrient uptake is being investigated for maize, beans, and rice.
Small fruit research involves grape cultivar evaluations for fruit and wine quality; berry crop production in high tunnels: strawberry cultivar evaluation for adaptability for matted row, plasticulture and high tunnel systems. Marketing research is being conducted for several horticultural crops and products including wine.
The research focus for tree fruit involves mechanization of peach and apple orchards; cultivar evaluations for apple, Asian pear and sweet cherry; evaluating apple and peach orchard systems; organic apple production; apple crop load management; apple and peach rootstock evaluations; and plant growth regulator evaluations on apple.
Penn State Turfgrass Faculty are involved in a variety of research activities including pest management, soil science, turfgrass management, turfgrass nutrition and fertility, breeding and genetics and others.
Research areas include cultivar evaluations; feasibility of growing new crops in high tunnels and in plasticulture systems; sustainable and organic production of various vegetable crops; and tomato breeding.