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Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

Ornamental Horticulture

The agricultural economics program focuses on industrial organization and marketing. We pay special attention to the caladium industry— with Florida supplying 95% of all caladium tubers worldwide. We help growers steer away from excessive competition, assist the industry in strategic planning, and identify effective ways to expand market demand.

Producers of cut flowers and flowering pot plants require a continuous input of crop varieties under production—as well as potential new crops—to maintain market interest. The breeding program aims to select and/or develop varieties resistant to ever-changing crop pests with the adaptability to Florida's growing conditions.

Since insects and mites are a large part of the day-to-day production problems for the Florida flower grower, we're here to help. The entomology program identifies pests and recommends and/or develops integrated insect- and mite-control procedures, such chemical controls, cultural practices, and scouting.

Because of floricultural crops' high value and the precise manipulations needed to create specific flowers for markets and holidays, their production systems are some of the most advanced cultural systems. At the horticulture program, we aim to further advance cut flower, bedding plant, and flowering-pot plant production systems. Much of our research focuses on a systems-approach to production, involving interdisciplinary efforts from scientists.

The pathology program screens caladiums for disease resistance, studies pathogen’s population biology and host specificity from fruit and ornamental hosts, and. investigates biopesticide efficacy. We also identify and document new diseases, which are often brought to our attention when growers submit samples to the diagnostic clinic.

The weed science program's goal is to develop integrated weed management plans for ornamental growers. We emphasize an overall systems approach to weed management, which includes the using fumigants and herbicides safely and effectively with biological knowledge, crop rotation, fallow programs, and cultivation.