Leadership identified the need to develop a long-term strategy to accommodate plant breeding and encourage horticultural field research through efficient land use and appropriate soil health for blueberry and cranberry production.
A master plan of the P.E. Marucci Center land is underway in conjunction with GIS mapping of fields/plots and their specific uses to integrate with soil maps of the area of interest. A committee has been established to review field status, productivity or problems, and best use and to provide advice on optimizing research and outreach activities. Detailed plans for each block and subsection are being developed.
Priority uses include space for breeding requirements: germplasm evaluation, seedling blocks and cultivar selection blocks, replicated blocks for advanced selections, and cultivar collection. Fields for related blueberry or cranberry management programs are also required to test/determine best practices for weed, pest, and disease control. Integration of breeding and cultural management research will be maximized. Furthermore, accommodation for outreach efforts, such as field days and demonstration plots, is included in the master plan.