The development of a manual and database of recommended trees and shrubs was undertaken as a collaborative effort of the University of Rhode Island, University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension and regional nursery stock producers. Initial selection was limited to species exhibiting few or no pest and disease problems, and without site requirements or other factors that could lead to higher maintenance in established landscapes. The preliminary list was reviewed by more than 30 representatives of regional arboreta, universities, growers, landscapers and arborists. In its third printing, the manual includes lists of recommended species, excluded species (with explanations), species for particular situations, and a guide to sustainable landscaping. The consortium brought together to create the manual is also developing a point-of-sale logo and poster to advertise recommended plant species and sustainable landscaping. This project has raised important issues about the interface between the industry and academia in promoting new and less readily available plants.
The database is maintained in FileMaker Pro (MAC), and will be made available in several DOS or MAC formats to those supplying a unformatted3.5” DD or HD disk.