Breeding, selection and evaluation of woody landscape plants has been an active project at the Univ. of Minnesota for many years. The goal of the project is to develop and or identify superior plants that are well adapted to the climatic conditions of Minnesota and other northern areas. About 20 cultivars of many species have been introduced to the nursery trade through this program in the past 20 years. These introductions result from selections made from populations arising from controlled crosses and from open-pollinated populations and native plant populations. One of the primary efforts has been development of the cold hardy, “lights series” of deciduous azaleas. These possess flower bud hardiness of from –35 to –40 °C. Other current breeding activities include efforts with Viburnum, Acer rubrum, Rosa, and intergeneric hybridization in the Pomoidaea subfamily of Rosaceae. An integral part of the project is development and use of techniques to screen for tolerances to various environmental stresses. Approaches used will be discussed and plants currently under evaluation will be described and illustrated with slides.
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