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2015 Woody Plant Introductions Announced

Two new woody plant selections were introduced by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and the NDSU Research Foundation in 2015. Lavaburst™ Ohio Buckeye is a narrow, upright, northern hardy selection that maintains a bright green summer color, changing to orange-red in autumn. September Flare™ Sugar Maple is a very winter hardy selection noted for its reliable, early annual display of radiant orange-red to red fall color. The selections were developed by the NDSU Woody Plant Improvement program under the direction of Dr. Todd West and research specialist Greg Morgenson.

January 20, 2016

Two new woody plant selections were introduced by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and the NDSU Research Foundation in 2015. They are Lavaburst™ Ohio Buckeye and September Flare™ Sugar Maple. The selections were developed by the NDSU Woody Plant Improvement program under the direction of Dr. Todd West and research specialist Greg Morgenson.

Lavaburst™ Ohio Buckeye

Lavaburst™ (Aesculus glabra ‘LavaDak’) is a narrow, upright, northern hardy selection. Its compact growth habit makes it ideal for limited space planting sites where a full sized buckeye is not suitable.

At maturity, Lavaburst™ stands 25-28 feet tall with a spread of 14-18 feet. Its dense, attractive canopy contains good foliage and shows greater resistance to leaf scorch than non-selected buckeyes. The leaves maintain a bright green summer color, changing to a showy orange-red color in autumn.

This tree prefers full sun exposure, a well-drained, non-droughty soil and is tolerant of higher pH levels. It is hardy in USDA climatic zones 3b-6.

Recommended use for Lavaburst™ is as a landscape, boulevard, parks and golf course tree. It fills the need for a smaller, narrower buckeye for planting where space is limited.

September Flare™ Sugar Maple

September Flare™ (Acer saccharum ‘SeptDak’) is a very winter hardy selection noted for its early annual display of showy, reliable fall color. Its early coloring capabilities extend the fall color season.

At maturity, September Flare™ stands 40-50 feet tall and has a spread of 30-40 feet. Its heavy textured, tatter resistant foliage is green to dark green during the summer months. Radiant orange-red to red fall coloration is photoperiod initiated and not frost dependent. This allows the tree to consistently begin fall coloring in mid-September before other trees in the landscape.

This tree selection prefers full sun exposure, a deep well-drained, non-droughty soil, and will tolerate higher pH levels. It is hardy in USDA climatic zones 3b-6, exhibiting excellent winter hardiness in the Northern Plains to -40o F.

Recommended use for September Flare™ is as a landscape, public grounds, larger boulevard, parks, schools, and golf course tree. It is suitable wherever tree diversity and adaptability to northern conditions are important.

About the NDSU Woody Plant Improvement Program

The NDSU Woody Plant Improvement Program has been serving the Northern Great Plains for over 60 years, beginning germplasm trial evaluations in 1954. In 1974, NDSU purchased an 80-acre farm near Absaraka, ND, to be established as the NDSU Horticulture Research Farm and began trial plantings that fall. This research farm provides ideal horticultural soil for evaluation and breeding projects for North Dakota. Approximately 45 acres of this farm is used for evaluation, selection and breeding of woody ornamental plants.

The main portion of the research farm is the center 35-acre plot known as the NDSU Dale E. Herman Research Arboretum. Named after NDSU Professor Emeritus Dr. Dale E. Herman, who developed the program for nearly 40 years, the research arboretum is the most extensive collection of woody ornamental plants in North Dakota and the Northern Great Plains. It is a valuable resource for teaching, research and educational use.

NDSU woody plant introductions are currently being propagated for sale by commercial wholesale firms in four countries: Australia, Canada, England, and the United States (14 states, including 35 nurseries). This project has introduced 55 superior woody plants for production and sale with increased disease tolerance and winter hardiness for landscapes. The first introduction from the program (1986) was a flower bud hardy Forsythia hybrid, ‘Meadowlark’. This was a collaborative release with South Dakota State University, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the USDA North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station.

In 2012, several breeding programs were initiated focusing on magnolia, lilac, maple hybridizing and mutagenic breeding of several shrub species. The NDSU woody plant improvement program also serves as the northern site for the American Rose Trials for Sustainability (A.R.T.S), launched in spring 2014.

The goals of the NDSU Woody Plant Improvement Program are selection, evaluation and introduction of hardy superior woody plants for the landscape industry. For more information about the program, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/plantsciences/research/woody-plants/.

Source: Todd West, 701-231-6476,
Editor: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123,

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