The Department of Horticulture is housed at 1575 Linden Drive on the UW-Madison campus. This building, which we share with the Department of Agronomy, includes research laboratories, teaching labs and classrooms, offices, administrative space, and controlled environment rooms.
D.C. Smith Greenhouse
The D. C. Smith Greenhouse, completed in the fall of 1996, is a greenhouse facility of the UW-Madison campus. The mission of the facility is to provide plant-growing space for the instructional needs of the departments and programs of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. With 10,000 square feet under glass, the facility consists of 10 growing bays, a high humidity propagation bay, and a 1,600 square foot conservatory. Support space includes a large potting/class area and a chemical safety and storage facility.
The building is designed as a combination of science and aesthetics. It has won several architectural awards. The environment of the greenhouses is controlled by a state of the art computer system that allows users to program the environment to suit the needs of the plants and the class. This allows students and faculty to gain experience in real world greenhouse equipment and management. The conservatory is an example of the relatively new discipline of interiorscaping. Much like an outdoor garden, it emphasizes the ornamental function of plants while demonstrating the science of plant culture. The conservatory has won a major national award for design.
The Allen Centennial Garden at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public garden, outdoor classroom, and artful living laboratory showcasing exceptional and sustainable ornamental horticulture. The Garden was dedicated in October 1989 and is constantly evolving. The varied topography and exposures of the 90,000 square foot site allow for a great diversity of plantings and the hardscapes. The major emphasis within the Garden is on herbaceous ornamental perennials but the site features many other plantings including annuals and woody plants.
The Arlington farm, at 160 acres, is managed entirely by the Department of Horticulture. Richard Rittmeyer is the farm’s supervisor, and Professor Jed Colquhoun is responsible for management and long-term planning. The farm contains research plots for a variety of horticultural species, as well as fruit trees, field equipment, storage facilities, and greenhouses. The farm is located approximately 25 miles north of Madison and is part of the larger Arlington Agriculture Research Station, which comprises some 2,200 acres.
The Peninsular Research Station is located on Wisconsin’s geographical thumb, the Door Peninsula, with the waters of Green Bay to the west and Lake Michigan to the east. Station staff initiate fruit research and outreach efforts to support local and state fruit industries. Station research staff also coordinate projects with UW-Madison Departments, including Horticulture, Entomology, Agronomy, and Plant Pathology within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
The Peninsular Station is also home to the NRSP-6 US Potato Genebank, which maintains the world’s largest collection of wild and cultivated potato species. The US Potato Genebank’s mission is to collect, classify, preserve, evaluate and distribute nearly 5,000 samples of more than 150 potato species. The Genebank coordinates potato germplasm resources for scientists and breeders around the world. The Genebank also partners with Door County and Kewaunee County Extension Offices to coordinate educational and outreach efforts. The station is also the site of “The Garden Door”, a cooperative project with the Door County Master Gardener’s Association. The Garden Door is a 1-acre showcase flower and landscape garden.
What gets studied at the O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility touches the lives – or rather the feet – of virtually everyone in the state. Wisconsin has an estimated 300,000 acres of turfgrass, covering yards, parks, roadsides, golf courses, athletic fields and sod farms. In acreage, it’s the state’s fifth biggest crop. Wisconsin’s turfgrass is the base of a nearly one-billion-dollar-a-year industry that employs more than 30,000 people.
The O.J. Noer facility was developed by the Wisconsin Turfgrass Association in partnership with the UW Foundation and Agricultural Research Stations in the early 1990s, opening in 1992. The station started with 13 acres; 3 more were added in the late 1990s and an additional 10 were added in the early 2000s to accommodate a growing need for research space.
Researchers use the Noer facility to compare different turfgrass varieties, mowing practices, equipment and strategies for fertilizer, irrigation and pest management. There are typically 70-80 or more projects conducted at the facility each year. Many of the projects are aimed at providing short-term information for Wisconsin’s turf industry (sod production, golf courses, lawn care, sports fields, etc.). A growing number of the studies are aimed at mid- to long-term objectives aimed at providing information for science-based regulations and a more sustainable society. Biosolids for sustainable sod production
The Noer facility also plays an important educational role. Classes in horticulture, soils, entomology and plant pathology often meet at the facility. Professionals from turf related industries – like irrigation, pest management, nutrient/seed supplies, and turf equipment – hold seminars at Noer. The facility is also home to the UW-Madison Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab, where homeowners and professional turf managers call to get unbiased, science based answers to all their turf related questions. Every summer the Noer facility cooperates with the Wisconsin Turfgrass Association in conducting a field day where researchers present their latest findings. In addition to providing an opportunity to meet with the researchers, this event includes a trade show where visitors can test new equipment and learn about all the latest products available to the industry.
With more than 2,000 plants on display, this 50-acre area north of the Visitor Center is the premier collection of trees, shrubs and vines in Wisconsin. Recognized internationally, plantings were begun when the Arboretum was founded in 1934. Today, the Gardens hold major displays of lilacs (one of the nations largest), flowering crabapples (one of the most up-to-date in the country), viburnums, conifers (including a very large collection of arborvitae cultivars), and dozens of other plant groups. More than 100 of Wisconsin’s native woody plants are represented in the collections. This major resource for the study of landscape plants is available to educators, the public and the nursery trade. Specimens in the gardens are labeled, usually with a tag attached to a south-facing branch.