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“Hardiness is a vital concern to gardeners everywhere, for, to a large degree, it influences one’s choice of plant materials and success in the garden. While the concept of the word “hardy” is universal, it is in its application that misunderstanding arises. A hardy plant is one capable of surviving without injury the climatic extremes of a given environment. This should imply not only winter hardiness, but also summer hardiness.” 

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.

Earth-Kind® Trial Methods and Evaluation

The 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. 

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.

Earth-Kind® and Iowa State University

This eye towards sustainability is carried on today at Iowa State with the latest method of rose evaluation known as Earth-Kind®. Earth-Kind®, a program started at Texas A&M by Dr. Steve George, is designed to evaluate landscape plants (initially roses) for their sustainability in the landscape.    

Earth-Kind® Roses have roots at Iowa State University in two ways, first because of the Griffith Buck roses. These roses known for their hardiness and disease resistance were among the first to be evaluated under this new system and were supplied by Iowa State University. Secondly the Iowa State University Horticulture Research Station is the location of one of the Northern Earth-Kind® Rose Trials under the direction of Dr. David Zlesak at the University of Wisconsin.  

Read the chronology of 130 years of rose research at Iowa State University that takes a look at the past and carries on into the future.

The term, EARTH-KIND®, and associated logo are trademarks of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System

Dr. Steve George

In the early 1990s Dr. Steve George of Texas A&M, in response to the public and industry’s desire to make man-made landscapes more sustainable developed a program known as Earth Kind®

Northern Earth-Kind® Rose Trial

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.