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Teagasc Nursery Stock Research and Trials

Teagasc has a range of research projects and trials underway that are focused on nursery stock production or have a broad impact across horticulture.

Teagasc Tree Trials

Teagasc has been running ornamental tree trials in Kildalton College since 2016. It is important to develop knowledge of the production of a wider range of trees in light of climate change, emerging threats from pests and disease and changing market forces e.g. trees for smaller spaces. The outlook is positive for tree production in Ireland with a growing economy and replanting opportunities from Ash dieback only developing.

To date more than 50 varieties of trees have been selected and grown in Kildalton. They are assessed under a range of criteria e.g. pest and disease incidence, rate of growth, ornamental features.

Varieties selected have been sourced from specialist nurseries in the Netherlands and Belgium.


Teagasc has been involved with Euro-Trial since 2008 when it established its first trials. These plant trials are a collaboration between 7 countries in Europe; Netherlands, Germany, France, Britain, Austria, Finland and Ireland. An independent organisation in each country grows and arranges judging of the plants. By growing and assessing the plants over a wide geographic area, it is possible to assess the plants performance and suitability to local climates. The plant species are selected by the committee each year. All new plants are propagated in one location and distributed to all trial sites for planting outside. The plants are assessed between the second and fourth years. Judging panels consist of growers, traders and gardeners and meet a number of times during the year. Assessment criteria vary depending on local preferences however floriferousnous, hardiness and disease resistance are some of the most important features.

Field of Hiscus plants grown for Euro trials

Irelands involvement to date has been with the grateful support of Fitzgeralds nursery in Kilkenny, who have hosted the Weigela and Hibiscus trials.

Trial Reports

Weigela completed – report (Dutch) - Weigela Euro Trials D51 DEF (PDF), Weigela Euro trials final results table (PDF), Weigela Euro trials bruinbladig (PDF)

Buddleja completed – report (Dutch) - Euro trials Buddleja (PDF)

Hydrangea completed – report (English) HNS Euro-trials Hydrangea report(PDF)

Vinca completed RHS results

Hibiscus on going

Physocarpus – planted 2017

Spirea – commencing 2018

Physocarpus trial planted in Kildalton College, Co. Kilkenny May 2017 and Physocarpus Zdechovice and Physocarpus Tilden Park

Eurotrial Partner organisations

Germany Bund Deutscher Baumschulen (BdB), Ellerhoop

Finland LUKE, Piikkiö

France Agro Campus Ouest, Angers

Netherlands Royal Boskoop Horticultural Society Boskoop      

Austria Höhere Bundeslehr- und Forschungsanstalt für Gartenbau (HBLFA), Wienna 

Great Britain Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), Wisley

Ireland Teagasc, Kildalton College

Contact Paul Fitters for further information or visit the Euro-Trial website

'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

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)