Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

'New Leaves' Research Project

This project will identify novel foliage plant lines to feed into the cut foliage sector in Ireland in response to growing demand from export and home markets. In addition, information will be gathered on threats to this fledgling industry from pests and diseases that damage cut foliage plantations.
This research project is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine's Competitive Research Funding Programmes. The duration of the project is from 2016 to 2018.

As part of this project a Prunus laurocerasus - crop walkers guide to pests and diseases has been published. 

Project final reports and articles relating to the work carried out by the New Leaves team can be accessed below:

0246 - Final Project Report

15S759(9)PPR4 Final submitted

TResearch - Spot the difference on Laurel leaves - Summer 2020 edition

HortConnected Shothole Summer edition 2020


New Leaves working group

Group photo of new leaves working group

Left to right: Brian McGuinness, Jan Robert Baars, Jim Kelly, Gerry Douglas, Alistair Pfeifer, Helen Grogan (Project Coordinator), Henry Lyons , Jim Costello, Paul Fitters, Andy Whelton, Peter Jones. Absent from photo , Michael Gaffney, Dermot Callaghan, Donall Flanagan

 Main objectives of New Leaves

  1. identifying high quality specimens of a wide range of decorative shrubs with desirable traits, such as unusual leaf colour or shape, and then developing propagation technologies to reproduce them.
  2. survey cut foliage plantations for troublesome pests and diseases and then identify environmentally responsible measures to tackle them.

On completion, stocks of elite "mother plants" will be available for propagation under licence by cut foliage growers or specialist plant nurseries. Practical advice will be available to help growers deal responsibly with pest and disease problems that reduce their profitability.  

Project tasks of "New Leaves"

Task 1

    • Develop a micro propagation method for elite clones of Eucalyptus (e.g. superior specimens with good branching structure and form)
    • Evaluate a range of Eucalyptus species (15) as potential cut foliage species


Task 2

  • Development of micropropagation technologies for elite/novel specimens of Pittosporum, Viburnum, Ozothamnus
  • Production of polyploidy lines of Viburnum tinus “Purpureum" and Brachyglottis greyi.

Task 3

  • Survey of cherry laurel plantations for shothole damage
  • Test for presence of Xanthomonas arboricola var. pruni (notifiable disease in UK)

Task 4

  • Epidemiology of shothole on cherry laurel (UCD)

Task 5

  • Identification of pests affecting cherry laurel and their population dynamics (e.g. tortrix moths, thrips, capsids)