Production of Drought-adapted Intermountain Native Plants Through Low-cost, In-containers for Emerging Western Markets

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2001: $71,686.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $23,344.00
Region: Western
State: Utah
Principal Investigator:
Roger Kjelgren
Utah State University

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: native plants, ornamentals


  • Crop Production: forestry
  • Production Systems: holistic management


    Results from this project show that pot-in-pot (PIP) nursery production moderates root zone temperatures of Intermountain West (IMW) native trees, shrubs, and perennials and can accelerate growth of these plants and protect against winter damage. A nursery specializing in production of IMW native plants can use the PIP system to be economically viable by improving plant growth and production. Sustainable short-term, intermediate, and long-term cash flow can be achieved by IMW nurseries with a species mix of native perennial wildflowers, shrubs, and trees by using pot-in-pot production.

    Project objectives:

    The overall goal of this study was to develop a model system with economic analysis using alternative in-ground container nursery production systems for drought-adapted native woody and herbaceous perennial species in the rural IMW to encourage adoption by small entrepreneurs. The specific objectives of the project are:
    --Compare growth of above-ground container versus PIP production of IMW native perennial wildflowers.
    --Conduct a controlled study and cost analysis comparing production time using expensive, high-end artificial media versus local materials (shredded bark, compost, field soil) for native wildflowers and shrubs;
    --Apply a scaled-up PIP system to a wholesale nursery that grows IMW native plants, using local materials for artificial media;
    --Conduct a cost analyses based on the results of Objective #2.

    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.