Developing adaptable native shrubs for the green industry

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2013: $58,347.00
Projected End Date: 10/31/2017
Grant Recipient: University of Connecticut
Region: Northeast
State: Connecticut
Project Leader:
Dr. Jessica Lubell-Brand
University of Connecticut

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Additional Plants: native plants, ornamentals


  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Production Systems: general crop production

    Proposal abstract:

    The nursery and landscape industry is facing the loss of some of its most important landscape shrub crops due to their invasive tendencies. Consumer awareness of invasiveness has reduced sales of important species and plant bans have eliminated the crops in some areas. Major wholesale nursery producers in the northeast indicate that sales of invasive shrubs are down as much as 60%. Native plants represent the best alternative to invasives and nursery producers can use new native plant crops to replace invasives they can no longer grow. Transitioning from invasive species to native species will be most successful if growers know which native plants will perform well in challenging landscape situations currently occupied by invasive species. Research at the University of Connecticut has identified 10 novel native shrubs that are adaptable and able to directly replace invasives in landscapes. This project will make growers aware of the identified native shrubs and how to use them effectively in landscaping. Furthermore it will develop propagation and production methods that will enable nurseries to efficiently grow several new native shrub crops. Through this project: 1) At least 20 growers will learn about the ten identified native shrubs as alternatives to invasives at a hands-on, interactive workshop. 2) Two Connecticut producers will grow on at their respective nurseries 50 liners each of six novel native shrub species. These crops will be used to verify production procedures, provide propagation material and serve as demonstrations for education of additional growers. 3) Growers will learn about economical propagation and production practices for the novel native shrubs at on-farm meetings. At least five growers will add a minimum of 6 of the identified novel native shrubs to their production lines.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Five wholesale nursery growers will add six native shrubs to their production lines and market them as adaptable landscape shrubs to replace $500,000 in lost revenue from invasives.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.