Commercialization of Native and Adapted Plant Species for use in Sustainable Southern Idaho Landscapes
Idaho public areas and home landscapes are intensively managed and consume disproportionate amounts of irrigation water and generate fertilizer and pesticide contaminants that enter the environment. Sustainable landscape planning and management have the potential to optimize aesthetic appeal while conserving water, minimizing pest damage and limiting negative environmental impacts. A key element in designing and planting sustainable landscapes is the use of appropriate plant materials. In southern Idaho, with its high-altitude arid environment, adapted plant species are typified by low water use and adaptation to shallow, well-drained soils with low levels of natural fertility (Mee et al, 2003). Unfortunately, very few nurseries supply plants with these characteristics. Acceptance of native plants in the landscape can be improved through the
development of attractive cultivars that adapt easily to yard and garden conditions, education of the public in use of native plant materials, and distribution of propagation information that will assist nurseryman and wholesalers with production of new plants. The core of this project is to develop attractive, useful native plant cultivars for use in the Idaho and Intermountain landscape industries. A progressive system of species collection, establishment, evaluation, and increase will be used to develop cultivars of native plants. Identifiable outcomes will be an infusion of new cultivars of native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees into the Intermountain landscape nursery industry. This project will have both economic and environmental impacts. It will infuse new native plant products into the nursery industry, with associated financial gains by cooperating members of industry. It will
also create a palette of native landscaping plants that will reduce the use of natural resources by all who choose to use them.