118 Plant Science
My program emphasizes teaching and research equally. In each realm my goal is to develop more sustainable approaches and systems for growing fruit crops, increasing the value of farm products, and sustaining the rural communities and natural resources of New York and elsewhere around the nation and world.
I work on diverse fruit crops including tree fruits, winegrapes, and novel crops such as pawpaws and antique apple varieties. Some of my projects have continued for more than a decade, investigating long-term impacts and aspects of perennial crop systems. Current research areas include biological control of soilborne diseases of apples, nutrient dynamics in orchards under various soil management systems, cultural practices to improve winegrape quality, tree root demography, and evaluation of traditional American and European apple varieties for cider fermentation.
I participate to a limited extent in Cornell`s outreach programs, providing research updates on my program for fruit grower conferences and meetings in New York and elsewhere around North America. I have also been active in Afghanistan and Latin America, providing support to fruit growers intent on improving their production systems in those countries.
I teach or co-teach three courses: Horticultural Systems and Science (the entry level course in our major); Wines and Vines (the entry level course for our Viticulture-Enology undergraduate program); and Ecological Orchard Management (a capstone course for fourth-year undergraduates and graduate students). I also teach modules within other courses in Crop Ecology and Tropical Crop Systems.