Introduction to the Graduate Group in Horticulture & Agronomy

Hort & Agronomy Graduate Group

Sponsored cooperatively by several departments, the Graduate Group in Horticulture & Agronomy includes faculty involved in a wide range of horticultural and agronomic research areas, including faculty in the Departments of Plant Sciences, Entomology, Environmental Science and Policy, Land, Air and Water Resources, Plant Biology, Plant Pathology, and Viticulture and Enology.

Horticultural crop production (fruits and nuts, grapes, ornamentals, and vegetables) in California exceeds $10 billion annually.  Agronomic crop production (grains, forages, and fiber crops) is valued at approximately $4 billion annually.  UC Davis plays a major role in solving problems of the horticultural and agronomic industries throughout the state, the nation and the world.

Increased population growth in California and the world present important challenges.  Faculty in the Graduate Group in Horticulture & Agronomy are involved in research aimed at solving these problems and enhancing our urban environment.

The Davis campus, situated in California's Central Valley, is surrounded by open space including some of the state's most valuable agricultural land. Davis is noted for both its rigorous scholarship and its unique spirit of cooperation. Because the campus was originally small and somewhat isolated, a tradition of close association between students and faculty developed. Today the Davis campus is the third largest in the UC system, yet the academic atmosphere remains friendly, informal, and personal, with continuing emphasis on academic excellence.

Faculty and Support Staff

The great diversity of research interests represented by the 90+ faculty members (see faculty pages for details) allows students to choose from a wide variety of specialties in which to pursue their studies. Within the areas of agronomy, environmental horticulture, pomology, vegetable crops, viticulture and weed science, students can study the principles and practices of agroecology, biotechnology, breeding and genetics, crop improvement, crop physiology, crop production, mineral nutrition, modeling and quantitative horticulture, pest management, plant growth and development, floriculture, nursery production, landscape horticulture, postharvest physiology, revegetation/restoration, and water relations.

Skilled technicians responsible for the smooth operation of each research facility are involved in training students, designing and operating equipment, and maintaining a cooperative working environment.


In addition to fully-equipped faculty research laboratories, the departments have specialized plant growth labs for tissue culture, growth chamber facilities for controlled environments, facilities for postharvest physiology research, and a research winery.

Field Facilities

The Plant Sciences Department manages nearly 1,000 acres located on campus for cultivation of agronomic and horticultural crops, with a support system of 19 greenhouses that include facilities for mist propagation, root temperature control systems, adjoining screen and lath houses, and outdoor nurseries. Other departments with faculty in the graduate group also manage field laboratories on campus.

In addition, there are field station resources located within a 15-minute to 2-hour drive from the campus:

An additional resource located on campus is the National Plant Germplasm Repository, established in 1981 in cooperation with the USDA. The repository is responsible for collecting and storing germplasm of cultivars and related species of grape, almond, walnut, pistachio, peach, nectarine, plum, prune, pomegranate, persimmon, apricot, cherry, fig, and olive.

Related Campus Facilities

The Biology-Agriculture department of the UCD Shields Library has one of the most complete collections in agricultural and biological sciences in the world. The Viticulture and Enology department has America's best library of foreign and domestic literature on grapes, wines, and brandies. Excellent campuswide research facilities are available at the Genomics Center, Information Technology Center, and the Facility for Advanced Instrumentation (scanning and transmission electron microscopes, mass spectrometer, etc.). The UCD Arboretum provides opportunities for students to study plant materials in the landscape.

UC Agricultural Field Stations

The University also maintains a statewide system of agricultural field stations providing a wide selection of climatic conditions, soil types, and water quality, designed to facilitate investigation of new cultivars, rootstocks, cultural practices, and biological/chemical material for integrated pest management.

Research Support

Interested horticultural and agronomic industries in California provide a high level of support to research activities. This support helps the University attract students of high caliber and assists in the development of horticultural and agronomic technology.