Submitted to: Proceedings Assoc for Advancement of Industrial Crops (AAIC) Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 31, 2007
Publication Date: October 30, 2007
Citation: Widrlechner, M.P. 2007. Old and New Trends Influencing the Introduction of New Nursery Crops. In: Janick, J. and Whipkey, A., editors. Issues in New Crops and New Uses. 2006 AAIC Annual Meeting and Sixth New Crops Symposium, October 14-18, 2006, San Diego, California. p. 237-245 Technical Abstract: Four trends that were influencing the introduction of new landscape plants were described at the National New Crops Symposium held in 1988. These were increased interest in, and use of, low-input plantings, edible landscaping, in vitro propagation methods, and ways to overcome limitations caused by urban conditions. Since then, the environment in which nursery producers and retailers operate has remained dynamic, as have the trends that affect them and their consumers. Thus, this report's objectives are to examine how past trends have fared and describe the trends that are now supplanting them or are likely to. Of these four trends, two remain relevant to cultivar introduction: low-input plantings, and ways to overcome urban site limitations. In constrast, interest in edible landscaping has generally waned, reducing its overall importance, and in vitro propagation methods have become integrated with many other propagation methods and do not seem to be a major driving force in cultivar release. Current trends, based on personal experience and a review of recent trade and popular gardening literature, include: a rise of branding and protection of intellectual property rights; increased awareness of invasive species and interest in native (and possibly sterile) plants; extending the season of garden interest; and challenges caused by emerging pests and diseases. Within this environment, increasing numbers of new introductions are being marketed, but efforts to collect and share objective evaluation data on the long-term performance of these new cultivars under a wide range of garden conditions are not sufficient to keep pace. This creates special challenges for growers, retailers, and consumers, and may give advantages to organizations introducing new cultivars with well-understood branding supported by careful evaluation data.