Plant Breeding at the U.S. National Arboretum: Selection, Evaluation, and Release of New Cultivars

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 USDA/ARS/U.S. National Arboretum, Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit, 3501 New York Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20002.

The U.S. National Arboretum has released over 650 new plant cultivars since it was established in 1927. A key to the success of the plant breeding program has been the voluntary participation of universities and private nurseries in evaluating and propagating new plant material. The cooperative evaluation and stock increase programs play a critical role in the successful testing, introduction, and distribution of new cultivars of landscape trees and shrubs. These integrated cooperative programs depend on the involvement of nurserymen, researchers, botanic gardens, or individuals to evaluate potential new cultivars under diverse climatic conditions and hardiness zones, and wholesale propagation nurseries to increase stock of those cultivars destined for release.

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