The faculty of the School of Plant, Environmental, and Soil Sciences (SPESS) are engaged in teaching, research and extension activities in the areas of agronomy, environmental management, horticulture and weed science. We offer undergraduate degree programs in plant and soil systems and environmental management and graduate degree programs in agronomy and horticulture. In the spirit of the land-grant university system, the school offers unique opportunities for students to gain valuable work experience by working with our diversified research faculty on projects that cover a broad range of plant, environmental and soils topics. Our extension faculty, with specializations in agronomy, horticulture and weed science, work with parish extension agents to deliver the latest science-based information to Louisiana citizens.
Environmental Management focuses on science-based stewardship of natural resources, particularly soil and water.
Horticulture is the science and art of cultivation, propagation, marketing and processing of ornamental plants, flowers, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Horticulture is unique among plant sciences because it also incorporates art and the principles of design. Horticulture students prepare for exciting and challenging careers involving the ornamental plants, flowers and turfgrasses that beautify the environment.
The most recent United States Geological Survey report of land loss found that Louisiana loses an area of land the size of a football field every hour. This is the highest erosion rate of any state in the continental United States. These figures demonstrate the urgent need to improve coastal restoration technologies.
The LSU AgCenter’s Coastal Plants Program is developing improved native plant varieties, production methods, and delivery systems and technologies to advance plant restoration technology.
In 1927 the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station established a department devoted entirely to research on horticultural crops. Julian C. Miller, a new Ph.D. from Cornell, was hired as the department head. He was provided a field foreman, Zack Richardson, one mule, a plow and the Hill Farm, forty acres of land on a slight rise overlooking University Lake. The Hill Farm was so named because of it was the high point in an area then surrounded by swamp land drained into the University Lakes.