NDSU Extension - Williams County


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February 3, 2016- Woody Plants

It might only be February, but the spring planning is already upon us. North Dakota State University Agriculture Experiment Station and the North Dakota Research Foundation introduced two new woody plant selections. The Woody Plant Improvement Program has been serving the Northern Great Plains for over 60 years. In 1974, North Dakota State University (NDSU) bought an 80-acre farm in Absaraka, ND (which is 35 miles northwest of Fargo). This farm is the NDSU Horticulture Research Farm and 35 acres is dedicated for evaluation, selection and breeding of woody ornamental plants.  This plot is known as the Dale E. Herman Research Arboretum, after the professor who developed the program for nearly 40 years. NDSU woody plant introductions are currently being propagated for sale by commercial wholesale firms in four countries: Australia, Canada, England and the United States. The goals of the NDSU Woody Plant Improvement Program are selection, evaluation and introduction of hardy superior wood plants for the landscape industry. For more information about this program, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/plantsciences/research/woody-plants/

The two plant selections that were introduced are Lavaburst ™ and September Flare ™. Lavaburst™ (Aesculus glabra ‘LavaDak’) is a narrow, upright, northern hardy selection. Its compact growth habit makes it ideal for limited space planting sites, places where a full sized buckeye is not suitable. When mature is stands 25-28 feet tall with a spread of 14-18 feet. It has a dense, attractive canopy that contains good foliage and great resistance to leaf scorch. The leaves maintain a bright green summer color, and change to a showy orange-red color in autumn. This tree prefers full sun, well-drained, non-droughty soil and is tolerant of high pH levels. It is hardy in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) climatic zones 3b-6. Williams County is a 3a and 3b zoned county.

The next plant selection that was introduced was September Flare™ (Acer saccharum ‘SeptDak’) a very winter hard selection, noted for its early display of showy, reliable fall color. September Flare ™ is a sugar Maple that stands 40-50 feet tall and has a spread of 30-40 feet. Heavy textures, 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. (Photoperiod is the period of time each day during which a plant receives light). This tree prefers full sun exposure, deep  well-drained, non-droughty soil and will tolerate hight pH levels. It is hardy in USDA climatic zones 3b-6, exhibiting excellent winter hardiness in the Northern Plains to -40˚F. This information was gathered from 2015 Woody Plant Introductions Announced written by Dr. Todd West.


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