USDA/University of Maryland’s Arboretum and Botanical Garden: Plant Germplasm Preservation Partnership

  • Posted on: 23 February 2017
  • By: Arboretum Staff

We are pleased to announce that the University of Maryland Arboretum and Botanical Garden and the USDA Woody Landscape Plant Germplasm Repository began to incorporate rare plant germplasm into the campus landscape during the fall of 2011. To date, 124 of the USDA plants have been installed on campus. The partnership comes with obligations on the part of UMD. Since these plants are documented research plants, they need suitable planting locations, research access, and regularly addressed maintenance. A campus of 1250 acres can be difficult to navigate; despite this, research scientists need access to the plants. Both parties agreed that GPS coordinates are the easiest way to document locations. To simplify the GPS collection, we used our GIS based Campus Plant Inventory. Within moments, GPS coordinates of all of the inventoried plants can be accessed. On the UMD campus, choosing locations for long lived plants can be a challenge. The most important factor is to make sure the site is suited for the given plant. Next, variables like building proximity, use of garden space, underground and overhead utilities, existing plants, natural topography and other site features, long term use of the space and campus vistas are all considered. Last but not least, regularly addressed maintenance must always be considered. To satisfy this requirement the USDA plants are integrated into our standard arboretum maintenance program. All of the necessary plant care needs must be met to ensure long term survival. Thus far we have received potted plants, plants in grow bags and trees that are transported with 90” root balls through this partnership. We hope to continue this partnership and to continue to diversify our collection.