Oregon research station is transferred to Arboretum

The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum now has a West Coast research station — in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, to be exact. The University of Minnesota is the owner of the Oregon Woody Plant Research Station, 24 acres of test gardens for northern hardy woody plant research.
The research station was transferred to the University and the Arboretum by the former Landscape Plant Development Center, a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization established by Dr. Harold Pellett, a retired professor of horticultural science at the University of Minnesota. Pellett established the LPDC in 1990 to continue his very successful work in woody plant research and breeding. During his 36-plus years at the University of Minnesota, Pellett was responsible for the introduction of some 25 new shrub and tree varieties.
The Arboretum will continue to operate the Oregon research station for the purpose of evaluating new woody plants for their potential value to the nursery industry and homeowners. UM researcher Steve McNamara has been named curator for woody plants and will manage the Oregon facility.
“Many of the largest wholesale nurseries in the United States are located in Oregon and it is advantageous to have a research site with a warmer climate so that non-hardy parents and first-generation hybrids of potential new plant introductions can be grown to flowering age without damage from cold winter temperatures,” said Peter Moe, director of research and operations at the Arboretum.
“Research has shown that second-generation hybrids may have greater winter hardiness than either of their parents and have the potential to be great new plants for Minnesota and other northern states,” Moe added.
The Oregon research facility currently is growing thousands of plants, including ornamental pear hybrids, Asiatic maples, hornbeams, ninebarks, weigela and butterfly bush. It works cooperatively with a network of scientists from academic institutions and arboreta around the country to develop durable, hardy plants that will stand up to environmental stresses.

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