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New Mugo Pine Cultivar Announced

A new woody plant selection was introduced by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and the North Dakota State University Research Foundation. Hyland Splendor™ Mugo Pine is a winter hardy selection that maintains its dark green needle color during the winter months. The selection has been in development by the NDSU Woody Plant Improvement program for over 28 years.

January 16, 2020

A new woody plant selection, Hyland Splendor™ Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo ‘HyDak’), was introduced by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and the North Dakota State University Research Foundation.

Hyland Splendor™ is a Mugo pine selection that has high quality dark green foliage and maintains its dark green needle color during the winter months.  It is fully hardy to USDA plant hardiness zone 3a.

This slow to medium growing selection reaches 15 ft. tall with an 8 ft. canopy spread at maturity. It prefers full sun to part shade and well drained soils. It is pH adaptable and tolerant of higher pH soils.

Nursery trials have shown Hyland Splendor™ to grow 20% faster in a controlled commercial nursery production setting as compared to the prominent cultivar ‘Tannenbaum’, which also often develops an undesirable yellow-green winter needle color. These factors may increase the profitability for nurseries selling Hyland Splendor™.

This selection has been in development by the NDSU Woody Plant Improvement program for over 28 years. Retired program leader Dr. Dale Herman purchased the original plant material from a nursery and began plant evaluations. Current project leader Dr. Todd West and research specialist Greg Morgenson continued the plant evaluation and prepared the selection for release.

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 80-acres near Absaraka, ND, and the NDSU Horticulture Research Farm was established. Trial plantings began immediately that fall. This research farm provides ideal horticultural soil for evaluation and breeding projects for North Dakota. Approximately 45 acres of the farm is used for evaluation, selection and breeding of woody ornamental plants.

The center portion of the research farm is a 35-acre plot known as the Dale E. Herman Research Arboretum. Named after NDSU Professor Emeritus 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 Australia, Canada, England, and 35 nurseries in 14 of the United States. This project has introduced 59 superior woody plants for production and sale with increased disease tolerance and winter hardiness for landscapes. The first introduction from the program in 1986 was a flower bud hardy Forsythia hybrid, ‘Meadowlark’, which 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,
Author: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123,

Editor: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384,

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