Department of Horticulture
Growing healthy food & beautiful communities
In the Department of Horticulture, our work influences everything from human health and nutrition to the simple beauty and pleasure of the world around us. We discover and promote sustainable ways to produce healthier fruits and vegetables. We design, build and grow amazing landscapes. And we work to do all this in ways that protect and preserve the natural environments around us.
For almost 120 years, our graduates have been growing, intensively managing and creatively using high-value plants to improve the quality of life, sense of well-being and food security in communities across the Southeast United States and far beyond.
The Auburn University Department of Horticulture’s outstanding, science-based undergraduate degrees and exceptional faculty/alumni have earned industry-wide respect and built solid connections with horticulture-related companies across the country. Industry demand for horticulture students always exceeds supply.
As an Auburn horticulture major, you’ll likely have multiple job offers by the time you graduate. Our undergraduate degree in horticulture offers four areas of specialization, preparing you for specific industry sectors or for graduate studies in the field.
Graduate education is a rewarding experience. There are many doors of opportunity that can be opened with a graduate degree that would not be available with only a bachelor’s degree.
In the Department of Horticulture, we pride ourselves on graduate students who produce excellent research that is significant to the horticulture industry. Our graduate degrees offered in horticulture include the M.S., M.Ag. and Ph.D. as well as a graduate certificate in public horticulture.
Through one of these horticulture graduate programs, you will be prepared for a career in teaching, research, business, production, public service or extension.
Majors & Minors
Graduate Degrees & Programs
Affiliates, Emeriti & Visiting Guests
Our Department of Horticulture has been recognized nationally for its research programs, its student-centered faculty members and its high rate of employment for graduates. Look through some of our student opportunities below.
HORT Student Clubs
Get out and explore and join a group with other students who love horticulture. Take a look at our student clubs:
With more than 20 student groups, the College of Agriculture has something for you no matter what your interest. View COA Clubs & Organizations.
HORT Student Research
The department prides ourselves on our students who continue to produce excellent undergraduate and graduate research that is significant to the horticulture industry.
Learn about our Student Research.
Travel & Study Abroad with Horticulture
International experience is encouraged as a part of your experience as an Auburn student in horticulture. Each year, our students study abroad in countries such as:
- United Kingdom
- Costa Rica
Learn more about COA Study Abroad programs and apply.
Are you looking to build, design and grow amazing environments? Horticulture students intern in a variety of horticulture roles and companies including landscaping, pitch/turf management, floral operations, greenhouses, and city and urban planning.
Find out more by visiting our Career Discovery page.
Expertise & Research Interests
Research in the Department of Horticulture is in collaboration with the College of Agriculture and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station’s research focus areas.
Faculty Research Areas
Landscape, Ornamental & Greenhouse
- Dr. Paul Bartley (Landscape Environmental Stewardship, X-ray Tomography) – This complex field integrates plant sciences, landscape design and ecology. The research focuses on urban soil and water and their function in supporting and sustaining horticultural services in urban environments.
- Dr. Glenn Fain (Alternative Substrates for Container Plant Production) – Investigating the use of forest-based biomasses for use as alternative growth substrtates for production of container-grown greenhouse and nursery crops.
- Dr. Jeremy Pickens (Nursery, Greenhouse Management, Extension) – Irrigation efficiency in container nurseries, root-zone temperature in conainer nursery production, application efficiency of granular preemergent herbicides, greenhouse cooling efficiency, plant nutrition, pest management, Christmas tree production.
- Dr. Carolyn Robinson (Socio-horticulture, Floral & Landscape Design) – Research projects include a rain garden interpretation study, high school education programs in horticulture and community garden impacts on food accessibility.
- Dr. Jeff Sibley (Container Production, Propagation & Waste Utilization) – Researches container production and propagation, waste management and utilization in horticultural crops.
- Dr. Josh Weaver (Instruction, Landscape Management) –
- Dr. Daniel Wells (Hydroponics, Aquaponics, Nutrition) – Research program focuses on improving controlled environment agriculture in the southeast. Specific topics of interest include plant nutrition in hydroponic and aqauponic systems, temperature optimization in controlled environments, and improved production techniques for greenhouses and indoor farms.
Fruit & Vegetable
- Dr. Elina Coneva (Fruit Cropping Systems & Management, Extension) – Investigating the potential of alternative or underutilized fruit crops in Alabama that are disease resistant, adaptable to the hot and humid environment, and possess superior biological characteristics. Research program is designed to evaluate different varieties of traditional fruit crops as well as newly developed selections to assess suitability for this market culture.
- Dr. Wheeler Foshee (Vegetable Cropping Systems, Fruit Pest Management) – Research includes vegetable production systems, pecan pest management, vegetable and fruit pest management.
- Dr. Joe Kemble (Best Management Practices, Cultivar Evaluation, Vegetables, Extension) – Activities in cultivar evaluation for performance and adaptability of vegetable crops; development of best management practices (BMP’s) for commercial vegetable producers; evaluation of specialty crops such as industrial hemp and hops for production potential in Alabama.
- Dr. Camila Rodrigues (Fresh Produce Food Safety) –
- Dr. Melba Salazar-Gutierrez (Fruit Crop Physiology, Modeling) –
- Dr. Andre da Silva (Vegetable Cropping Systems) –
- Dr. James Spiers (Best Management Practices, Fruits, Satsuma, Kiwi, Blueberry) – Primarily researches satsuma mandarin (Citrus unshiu), kiwifruit and blueberry. Current research on satsuma mandarin pertains to evaluating new rootstock and scion selections for cold tolerance and overall performance and determining the effects of fertilizer rates and application frequency on fruit yield, fruit quality and alternate bearing.
- Dr. Edgar Vinson (Fruit Crop Management, Extension) – Research centers on technologies and concepts to help producers of specialty fruit crops navigate production challenges encountered in the diverse but challenging Alabama environment. Major areas of focus are in peach and strawberry fruit.