“In the spring of 2007 the Northern Earth-Kind® Rose Trials began. There are literally dozens of old and new roses touted as being superior low-maintenance landscape performers for our region, but many do not routinely live up to these claims. As we read the advertisements, it is hard for us as consumers to find landscape roses at the garden centers not being described as hardy and disease resistant. The goal of this effort is to identify the most consistently beautiful, low-care, pest tolerant roses for our region through putting them through multi-year, multi-site trials under a typical landscape environment.”
David C. Zlesak, University of Minnesota Extension Educator, Northern EarthKind Rose Trial Coordinator.
Starting in 2007, eight Northern Earth-Kind® trials were established. Three were in Minnesota including University of Minnesota Outreach, Research, and Education Park in Rosemount, Centennial Park in Moorehead Minnesota, and The Sisters of St. Benedict in Crookston Minnesota. One was located in Iowa at the Iowa State University Horticulture Research Station outside of Ames. Also another trial at Haworth Park in Bellevue Nebraska and one in Fort Collins Colorado was established. The additional two trials are located with one in Kansas at the John C. Pair Horticultural Center, Haysville, KS) and the other in Texas at Texas A&M Commerce, TX.
Iowa State University Northern Earth-Kind® Trial
The Northern Earth-Kind® rose trial at the Iowa State University Horticulture Research Station was established in 2008. This multiyear trial was allowed to grow and establish for the first season allowing good root establishment and all residual pesticides and fertilizer to dissipate from the plants. Evaluation of these plants started the second season and continued on for a total of three years. In this evaluation process data was collected yearly on percent winter damage and vigor. Monthly quality data was gathered examining flowering, plant form, and disease and insect damage. In addition to this standard information required by Earth-Kind®, additional data was gathered rating defoliation due to black spot and damage due to Japanese Beetle infestations. This trial was watered only once due to 3 exceptionally wet seasons and it was re-mulched every spring to maintain the required three inch mulch layer. Pruning, because the trial is located in the north, was completed but only for winter damage removal. No pesticides, fertilizer and winter protection was provided.