Developing native shrubs for the green industry

August 5, 2020

University of Connecticut associate professor of ornamental horticulture Jessica Lubell explored native shrubs as replacements for invasive plants through her Northeast SARE Research and Education project.

To help wholesale nursery growers looking for alternative ornamentals that perform well in the Northeast, the project combined research trials of native shrub selections with an education program to nursery growers about how to grow these crops economically.

Lubell evaluated propagation and production techniques (growth media, and fertility and pruning requirements) of 10 native shrubs. She identified native taxa that nursery growers could produce using current industry production systems without incurring increased costs.

Since retailers and landscape designers often look to growers for information on landscape uses of these plants, the project offered an education program that included the publication of a manual for using these native shrubs as landscape plants.

As a result of Lubell’s project, three wholesale nursery growers added four native shrubs to their production lines and marketed them as landscape alternatives to invasive shrubs. These growers produced new native shrubs worth $759,690 (exceeding the $500,000 in lost revenue from invasive shrubs).

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Topics: Additional Plants, Native Plants, Ornamentals
Related Locations: Connecticut, Northeast