Earth-Kind® Trial Methods and Evaluation

National Test Site for Earth-Kind® Roses SignThe goal of all Earth-Kind® trial projects whether they are roses, Hydrangea, herbaceous perennials or vegetables is to evaluate their sustainability in the landscape. This implies that for the winners, superior plant performance is exhibited with little or no inputs of water, fertilizers, pesticides and labor. This goal of evaluating plants for sustainability, however, must be tailored to the plants in question  because different varieties of plants exhibit different characteristics. An example would be the blooming habits of roses and Hydrangea. For roses, repeat bloom is an important characteristic needing to be examined whereas with Hydrangea the duration of bloom is necessary to evaluate. As a result protocols for data collection on plant performance are specific to the varieties in question.

Constant in ornamental Earth-Kind® trials is site preparation. The addition of 3”-4” of plant based compost incorporated to 8” in depth and the addition and maintenance of 3” of wood mulch on planting beds after planting is required of all Earth-Kind® projects. In addition, all trials are laid out in a random block design and are replicated a minimum of three times, giving more accurate data across a given site. Also another important constant in Earth-Kind® plant evaluation is trial location. Because the goal is to evaluate plants for their ability to adapt and perform regionally, all plants are trialed on multiple sites and preferably in multiple states. This allows the plant to be examined in various soil types and climates. Another aspect constant among Earth-Kind® trials (using perennial plants) is that they are given one season to establish before evaluation begins. This allows time for pesticides and fertilizers to dissipate from the plants giving a clearer look on how they perform without these products. All Earth-Kind® trials are evaluated three years after establishment.



Earth-Kind® Data Collection Protocol

Specific protocol for data collection of Earth-Kind® trials.  View the rating scale criteria and specific additions and deductions. Read more about

Planting and Care Protocol

Steps for properly planting and caring for Earth-Kind® Roses; including site selection, soil preparation, planting, watering, fertilization and weed control, insect and disease control and pruning. Read more about

Japanese Beetle Data Collection Protocol

Collect Japanese Beetle damage data monthly from the time the insects are first found in the area and continue until they are no longer present.  Read more about

Black Spot Defoliation Protocol

Rate plants each month (April-August) for severity of black spot. Use the following rating system and consider both the amount of lesions on the leaves and defoliation of the whole plant to derive a percent defoliation. Read more about