Desmond R. Layne

Department Head & Professor

Department Heads & Managers / Horticulture

(334) 844-4906 


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101 Funchess Hall
Auburn Univ, AL 36849



  • 1992 Ph.D., Horticulture, Michigan State University
  • 1989 M.S., Horticulture, Michigan State University
  • 1986 B.Sc. in Agriculture, Major: Horticulture, University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada)


  • 2018 – Present Professor of Pomology and Head, Department of Horticulture, Auburn University
  • 2015-2018 Professor of Pomology, Department of Horticulture and Director of Agricultural and Food Systems and Integrated Plant Sciences interdisciplinary undergraduate programs, College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
  • 2013-2015 Professor of Pomology, Department of Horticulture and Tree Fruit Endowed Chair, Cooperative Extension Service, Washington State University, Wenatchee, WA
  • 2006-2013 State Horticulture Program Team Leader, Cooperative Extension Service, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • 1997-2013 Assistant/Associate/Full Professor of Pomology and State Peach Specialist, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • 1993-1997 Principal Investigator of Horticulture and Curator, USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Asimina spp., Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY
  • 1992-1993 Research Plant Physiologist, USDA Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Rhinelander, WI


  • 2021 Fellow, Cohort 15 Food Systems Leadership Institute
  • 2018 Fellow, American Society for Horticultural Science
  • 2018 Teaching Award of Merit, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA)
  • 2017 Elected Vice-President, Extension Division, American Society for Horticultural Science
  • 2014 Invited Keynote Speaker, Horticulture in Quality and Culture of Life Conference, Lednice, Czech Republic
  • 2013 Industry Award – named “Mr. Peach” by the South Carolina Peach Council
  • 2013 Scientific Committee and Invited Keynote Speaker – VIII International Peach Symposium in Matera, Italy
  • 2013 Professor Emeritus of Pomology, Clemson University
  • 2012 National Team Award – USDA NIFA Partnership Award for Multistate Efforts for the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium
  • 2012 Invited Keynote Speaker – XXII Congresso Brasileiro de Fruticultura (Brazilian Congress of Fruit Crops), Bento Goncalves City, Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil


  • American Society for Horticultural Science
  • American Pomological Society
  • International Society for Horticultural Science
  • Executive Committee, Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium



Currently in 100% administrative position. Former applied research over the years has focused on the following temperature fruit crops – apple, cherry (sweet and tart), peach, strawberry, and the native American pawpaw (Asimina triloba). Research has primarily focused on sustainable orchard management practices and systems, germplasm evaluation and new cultivar development.”


Currently in 100% administrative position.



  • HORT/CROP_SCI 202 “Crop Growth and Development” (4 credits)
  • HORT 310 “Pomology” (3 credits)
  • AFS 401 “Advanced Systems Analysis and Design in Agriculture and Food Systems” Senior Capstone (3 credits)
2006-2012 (At Clemson University)
  • HORT 455/655 “Just Fruits” (3 credits)



  • Serra, S., S. Borghi, G. Mupambi, H. Camargo-Alvarez, D. Layne, T. Schmidt, L. Kalcsits, and S. Musacchi. 2020. Photoselective protective netting improves “Honeycrisp” fruit qualityPlants 2020, 9, 1708; doi:10.3390/plants9121708
  • Layne, D.R., K. Kidwell and E. Carney.  2019. Transformative learning for senior-level students in the agricultural and food systems interdisciplinary program at Washington State University. NACTA Journal 63(1):53-59.
  • Kalcsits, L., Asteggiano, L., Schmidt, T., Musacchi, S., Serra, S., Layne, D.R. and Mupambi, G. 2018. Shade netting reduces sunburn damage and soil moisture depletion in ‘Granny Smith’ apples. Acta Hortic. 1228, 85-90. DOI:10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1228.11
  • Layne, D.R., S. Benson, L. Brown, N. Quam-Wickham, K. Green and E. Carney. 2018. Using a program-wide rubric to assess scientific literacy development of integrated plant sciences undergraduates. NACTA Journal 62(4):365-370.
  • Mupambi, G., D.R. Layne, S. Musacchi, S. Serra, T. Schmidt, and L.A. Kalcsits.  2018. Reducing incoming solar radiation in a semi-arid environment improves light use efficiency in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple under heat stress. HortScience 53(10):1416-1422.
  • Mupambi, G., B.M. Anthony, D.R. Layne, S. Musacchi, S. Serra, and L.A. Kalcsits.  2018. Effect of protective netting on tree physiology and fruit quality in apple: a review. Scientia Horticulturae 236:60-72.
  • Zhao, S., C. Yue, J. Luby, K. Gallardo, V. McCracken, J. McFerson, and D.R. Layne. 2017.  U.S. peach producer preference and willingness to pay for fruit attributes.  HortScience 52(1):116-121.
  • Kalcsits, L., S. Musacchi, D.R. Layne, T. Schmidt, S. Serra, G. Mupambi, M. Mendoza, S. Jaralmasjed, S. Sankaran, L.R. Khot, and C. Zuniga Espinoza.  2016.  Above and below-ground environmental changes associated with the use of photo-selective protective netting to reduce sunburn in apple.  Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 237:9-17.
  • Layne, D.R.  2016.  Farmer-to-farmer program: teaching best management practices to Georgian peach growers. Acta Hortic. 1126, 143-147. DOI 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1126.18.
  • Layne, D.R., P. Togel, E. Massey, and D. Bowen. 2015.  Everything about peaches: Website, social media, YouTube, and other tools for peach grower education.  Acta Hortic. 1084(1):415-427.
  • Layne, D.R., Z. Wang, and L. Niu. 2013.  Protected cultivation of peach and nectarine in China – Industry observations and assessments.  J. Amer. Pom. Sci. 67(1):18-28.


  • Mupambi, G., D.R. Layne, L. Kalcsits, S. Musacchi, S. Serra, T. Schmidt, and I. Hanrahan.  2019. Use of protective netting in Washington state apple production. Washington State University Extension Bulletin TB60E (19p). Download PDF.


  • Layne, D.R. and D. Bassi (Eds.). 2008. The Peach: Botany, Production and Uses. CAB International Press, Wallingford, U.K. 615 pp.


Currently in 100% administration position. Former primary efforts directed toward addressing the needs of commercial tree fruit growers in Washington (2013-2018) and South Carolina (1997-2013) including on-farm trials, field days, developing web-based resources/tools, education videos and publications, etc. Was the regular “Stone Fruit or Tree Fruit” columnist for the national American Fruit Grower magazine during 2005-2015. Was statewide Horticulture Program Team Leader at Clemson University during 2006-2013.