Commercial Horticulture

Commercial horticulture industries in Kansas are broad, providing ample opportunities for producers. The USDA defines Specialty Crops as "fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture)." Of those listed, Kansas is suited for a variety of tree fruit, small fruit, nut, and vegetable crops, as well as the horticultural side of industrial hemp production, commercial turfgrass (athletic fields, golf, sod, etc.), and ornamental nursery crops (trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals). Challenges of our climate include high soil pH, heat in the summer, cold in the winter, drought, wind, and water access. Controlled production environments are now critical to the success and season extension of many specialty crops in Kansas.

Our Commercial Horticulture research team focuses on current and emerging specialty crops for Kansas. For all crops, our research encompasses pre- and post-harvest technologies as well as modern production practices, harnessing state-of-the-art facilities and tools to maximize efficient and effective production. We also focus on expanding the palette of landscape plants that thrive in the range of growing environments across the state.

While some crops are exported, our work emphasizes local production and consumption as much as possible. Further, our integrated Research and Extension efforts expand the opportunities available to local specialty crop producers for agritourism and local markets.

Horticultural marketing links all specialty crop research together, as understanding consumer preferences helps promote local consumption of the broad array of specialty crops produced in the state.

Vegetable, Fruit, & Nut Specialty Crops
Industrial Hemp
Turfgrass & Ornamental Specialty Crops
Horticultural Marketing
Diseases, Insects, & Weeds