Native Plants

    Promoting the Use of Utah Native Plants in the Urban Landscape

    One goal of the Center for Water Efficient Landscaping is to explore potential uses for Utah's native plants in Utah's urban landscapes. CWEL is investigating select species that are from low elevation habitats so likely to demand minimal water in urban landscapes, but also add aesthetic appeal and function to low water landscapes.  Before these species can be used in low water landscapes, they need to survive a nursery production gauntlet of propagation ease, reasonably fast growth, and survival under frequent nursery irrigation. We are actively searching for plants with superior landscape characteristics. Once found, we determine how they perform in a managed landscape and what their propagation and production requirements are.


    Why Native Plants?

    bigtooth maple Acer grandidentatum

    Utah’s incredible geographic diversity results in a wide range in habitats that support a broad spectrum of native plant material.  For example, Utah has over 350 species of native woody plants and some 67 species of Penstemon alone.  The adaptation of these plants to Utah environments may make them a more sustainable choice for landscaping, but currently many of them are not available in the landscaping trade.




    As demand for water increases, some of these plant materials are coming under scrutiny and more water efficient alternatives are being sought. The plant materials used for landscaping in Utah are chosen based on a number of criteria including aesthetics, function, maintenance, and economics.  As a result, most plants used for landscaping in Utah are easy to produce, inexpensive, easy to maintain, and are adapted to a broad range of environments. However, many are common plants produced nationally for traditional Eastern or Midwestern suburban landscapes, which generally require significant supplemental irrigation in Utah's semi-arid environment. The Center for Water Efficient Landscaping is exploring native Utah plants suitable and desirable for low-water landscapes. 



    Etiolation Improves Rooting of Bigtooth Maple (Acer grandidentatum) Cuttings, Melody Reed Richards and Larry A. Rupp; HortTechnology

    Selection and Budding Propagation of Native Bigtooth Maple for Water-conserving Landscapes, Melody Reed Richards, Larry A. Rupp, Roger Kjelgren, and V. Philip Rasmussen; HortTechnology

    Water efficient urban landscapes - integrating different water use categorizations and plant types, Hongyan Sun, Kelly L. Kopp, and Roger Kjelgren; HortScience



    Tropical street trees and climate uncertainty in Southeast Asia, Roger Kjelgren, Yongyut Trisurat, Ladawan Puangchit, Nestor Baguinon, and Puay Tan Yok; HortScience

    Value Landscape Engineering: identifying costs, water use, labor, and impacts to support landscape choice., Kelly Kopp, Larry Rupp, Paul G. Johnson, Roger K. Kjelgren, David E. Rosenberg, and Heidi Kratsch; Journal of the American Water Resources Association

    Predicting urban forest growth and its impact on residential landscape water demand in a semiarid urban environment, John H. Lowry Jr., R. Douglas Ramsey, and Roger K. Kjelgren; Urban Forestry & Urban Greening

    Plant Species vulnerability to climate change in peninsular Thailand., Y. Trisuart, S. Fajendra, and Roger K. Kjelgren; Applied Geography



    Water deficit stress responses of three herbaceous native Australian ornamental species, Roger Kjelgren, Lixue Wang, and Daryl Joyce; HortScience

    Water-conserving landscapes: an evaluation of homeowner preference, Tony A. McCammon, Sandra T. Marquart-Pyatt, and Kelly L. Kopp; Journal of Extension


    Theory and Practice Related to Native Plants: A Case Study of Utah Landscape Professionals, Virginia Harding Hooper, Joanna Endter-Wada, and Craig W. Johnson; Landscape Journal


    Characterizing fertilizer and media pH requirements for greenhouse production of Intermountain West native herbaceous perennials, Guillermo Cardoso, Teresa Cerny-Koenig, Rich Koenig, and Roger Kjelgren; Native Plants Journal

    Relative salinity tolerance of Intermountain Western United States native herbaceous perennials, N. Zollinger, R. Koenig, Teresa Cerny-Koenig, and Roger Kjelgren; HortScience



    Pot-in-pot production of six Intermountain West native herbaceous perennial species grown in containers, Guillermo Cardoso, Roger Kjelgren, Teresa Cerny-Koenig, and Rich Koenig; Journal of Environmental Horticulture

    Effects of irrigation and mowing on species diversity of grass and wildflower mixtures for the Intermountain West, Daniel W. Dewwy, Paul G. Johnson, and Roger K. Kjelgren; Native Plants Journal

    Evaluating a line source irrigation system for determining water requirements of herbaceous perennials, Roger Kjelgren and Teresa Cerny-Koenig; Journal of Environmental Horticulture



    Growth and water relations of littleleaf linden trees established in irrigated buffalograss and Kentucky bluegrass, J. Ryan Stewart, Roger Kjelgren, and Paul G. Johnson; HortScience



    Species composition changes in a rooftop grass and wildflower meadow: Implication for designing successful mixtures, Daniel W. Dewwy, Paul G. Johnson, and Roger K. Kjelgren; Native Plants Journal

    Water use and stomatal behavior of sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) relative to reference evaporation in three contrasting regions, Roger Kjelgren, T. Montague, and R. Beeson; ISHS Acta Horticulturae

    Water loss estimates for five recently transplanted landscape tree species in a semi-arid climate, Thayne Montague, Roger Kjelgren, Rick Allen, and David Wester; Journal of Environmental Horticulture




    Gas Exchange and Growth of Two Transplanted, Field-grown Tree Species in an Arid Climate, Thayne Montague, Roger K. Kjelgren, and Larry A. Rupp; HortScience

    Surface energy balance affects gas exchange and growth of two transplanted landscape trees, Thayne Montague, Roger K. Kjelgren, and Larry A. Rupp; Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science



    Shearing and Growth of Five Intermountain Native Shrub Species, Larry A. Rupp, Roger K. Kjelgren, Jeriann Ernstsen, and William Varga; Journal of Environmental Horticulture


    PDF  Nurturing Native Plants: A Guide to Vegetative Propagation of Native Woody Plants in Utah, Larry Rupp and Adrea Wheaton



    PDF  16 Less common Trees for Utah Landscapes: Diversifying Utah's community forests, Heidi Kratsch and Michael Kuhns



    PDF  Drought Tolerance A Database of Irrigation Requirements for Woody Plants of Northern Utah, Samuel Cook and Larry Rupp

    PDF Propagating Bigtooth Maple, Melody R. Richards and Larry Rupp; Utah State University Extension


    PDF  Shrub Selection for Utah Landscapes, Taun Beddes, JayDee Gunnell, Heidi Kratsch, and Rick Hefelbower 



    PDF  Apache Plume in the Landscape, Heidi Kratsch and Graham Hunter

    PDF  Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany in the Landscape, Heidi Kratsch and Graham Hunter

    PDF  Firecracker Penstemon in the Landscape, Heidi Kratsch and Graham Hunter

    PDF Little Bluestem in the Landscape, Heidi Kratsch and Graham Hunter

    PDF  Mountain Beebalm in the Landscape, Heidi Kratsch and Graham Hunter

    PDF  Prince’s Plume in the Landscape, Heidi Kratsch and Graham Hunter 





    PDF  Water-Wise Plants for Utah Landscapes, Teresa A. Cerny, Rick Hefelbower, Larry A. Sagers, and Wade Bitner 


    PDF  Selection and Culture of Landscape Plants in Utah: A Guide for High Mountain Valleys, Larry Rupp, William A. Varga, Teresa A. Cerny, Chad R. Reid, and Mike Kuhns 

    Water Wise

    Water Wise

    Native Plants for Intermountain Landscapes

    Convenient and comprehensive, Water Wise provides specific information about shrubs, trees, grasses, forbs, and cacti that are native to most states in the Intermountain West, and that can be used in landscaping to conserve water, reflect and preserve the region's landscape character, and help protect its ecological integrity.


    Nurturing Native Plants

    Nurturing Native Plants A Guide to Vegetative Propagation of Native Woody Plants in Utah

    A Guide to Vegetative Propagation of Native Woody Plants in Utah

    This publication is a compilation of successful protocols from research literature for native woody plants in Utah. The guide is laid out much like a recipe; listing the various ingredients and materials for each 'dish', and step-by-step instructions to replicate successful propagation methods for each species.