nursery green house

Duarte Dry Creek Lab

Dry Creek Laboratories was developed as a joint venture by John Driver and the Duarte Family in 1996. In 2002, the Duarte family assumed full ownership of the laboratory and it became a subsidiary of Duarte Nursery, Inc. (DNI). The lab produces millions of tissue culture starts for many Duarte Nursery products and conducts research into plant improvement and variety development for the nursery.

Dry Creek Laboratories’ main focus is on micropropagation to meet demand for clonal rootstocks for our Prunus varieties, such as citrus, pistachio, walnut and avocado. The laboratory also propagates blackberries, raspberries, pomegranates, kiwis and other products that are still in development.  The laboratory has expanded DNI’s ability to continue its “growth through innovation” by making micropropagated clonal rootstocks commercially available for many fruit and nut trees for which they were previously not an option. In addition to micropropagation, Dry Creek Labs also expands the nursery’s research capabilities into other areas such as virus elimination and in vitro selection of rootstocks that can better tolerate environmental stress factors, such as salt and drought.

The laboratory is managed by Dr. Javier Castillόn, who joined the nursery in 2002 as Operations Manager for the lab and is now Director of Research for DNI.  He was joined by Dr. Dharam Sharma in 2005 as Micropropagation Specialist, and who is now the New Products Lead for the laboratory. Together they have over 65 years experience working in the area of plant tissue culture and micropropagation.

Ken Meyer joined Dry Creek Laboratories in 2004 as Production Manager. He has a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture and many years experience in both horticulture and research related to agriculture and biotechnology.

The lab staff also includes Carmen Moreno who is the production crew supervisor and has been with Duarte Nursery for over 20 years. Also, Anthony Nwangwu is the lab research technician, joining Duarte Nursery in 2015. Additionally, the lab currently employees over 65 employees who carry out the day to day propagation tasks.