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Landscape Plants: Identification, Selection and Application

Course Code: AL0201CA20

Landscape Design Training: Plant Identification & Selection

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Date & Time

Last Held: January 3 - March 13, 2020
11 consecutive Friday mornings
8:30am - 12:00pm (Check in time on Day 1: 8:00am)

Next offering tentatively planned for January - February 2022. Registration will open when course dates are confirmed.


Shared by Students:

"The education to help you succeed. I will use it when I meet with clients."
-- E. Cerino, Owner, Smiley's Lawn Care & Landscaping

"[He] has forgotten more about landscaping plants than I will ever know!"
-- M. Booth, Co-owner, Booth Brothers Landscaping, on instructor Steve Kristoph

"I thought I knew about trees before I started. I learned that I knew very little, and then learned a lot. There's no substitute for touching/seeing the real plant!"
-- N. Khanna, gardening enthusiast

Landscape Plants Course in the News!

Read a story on mycentraljersey.com that describes the history and development of this course, along with an overview of what students will learn during class.

NOTE: We recommend that you enroll in Introduction to Plant Identification prior to attending this program.

Take our fun plant ID quiz to test your knowledge of landscape plants!

Are you ready to up your game? If you work with plants, you need to look smart doing it - and the best way to look smart is to know what they are, where to find them, and how to use them. This class will teach you more than you ever knew about landscape plants, and you'll love every minute of it!

Over the course of 11 weeks, you'll be submerged in the world of plants. Through hands-on plant identification walks, comprehensive classroom lectures, and online instructional tools, lead instructor Steve Kristoph will teach you two vital skills that all plant lovers and managers should master:

  • The ability to identify landscape plants on the properties you manage
  • Expanding your palette of plants to select the right plant for the right site and the right purpose

This course will cover a variety of different kinds of landscape plants, including shade trees, ornamental small trees, conifers, needle evergreens, broadleaf evergreens, rhododendrons and their kin, flowering shrubs, groundcover options, and rariflora. A full list is available below.

In small groups led by our instructors, you'll visit Rutgers Gardens where you'll get up-close and personal with plants. You'll see them in their habitat, you'll learn their Latin names, and you'll increase your ability to talk knowledgeably with clients.

"You have to see the plant in its place to understand where it fits in the environment, or where it doesn't fit, which is just as important. You can't get that by showing a twig in a bottle in the classroom," explains Dr. Bruce "Doc" Hamilton, course founder. Doc's philosophy lives on in our current instructional team, so come dressed in winter wear and be prepared to go outside!

Whether you're a landscaping professional or just a person who loves plants, this class is for you. Sign up today!

Landscape Plants Course Video Preview

Interested in earning a Landscape Certificate?
This is a required course for the Rutgers Landscape Management II Certificate program.

Plant Species Covered in this Course

Over the 11 sessions of this class, you will become familiar with over 200 plant species including shade trees, conifers, ornamental small trees, broadleaf evergreens, rhododendrons, deciduous shrubs and vines, groundcovers, and rariflora. A detailed list is available below!

Shade Trees
  • Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
  • Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
  • Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)
  • Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
  • River Birch (Betula nigra)
  • Paper Birch, Canoe Birch (Betula papyrifera)
  • European Birch (Betula pendula)
  • Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)
  • American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
  • European Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
  • Weeping European Beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula')
  • White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
  • Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
  • Sweetgum (Liquidamber syraciflua)
  • Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • Amur Cork Tree (Phellodendron amurense)
  • London Plane Tree (Platanus x acerifolia)
  • Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
  • Sawtooth Oak (Quercus accutissima)
  • White Oak (Quercus alba)
  • Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
  • Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)
  • Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
  • Golden Weeping Willow (Salix alba tristis)
  • Japanese Pagoda Tree (Styphnolobium japonicum)
  • Littleleaf Linden (Tilia cordata)
  • Silver Linden (Tilia tomentosa)
  • Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata)

Fir, Cedar, Spruce, and Pine Trees
  • White Fir (Abies concolor)
  • Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica)
  • Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca')
  • Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani)
  • Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara)
  • Japanese Cryptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica)
  • Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
  • White Spruce (Picea glauca)
  • Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca 'Conica')
  • Serbian Spruce (Picea omerika)
  • Blue Colorado Spruce (Picea pungens 'Glauca')
  • Colorado Spruce (Picea pungens)
  • Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
  • Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
  • White Pine (Pinus strobus)
  • Japanese White Pine (Pinus parviflora)
  • Himalayan Pine (Pinus wallichiana)
  • Lacebark Pine (Pinus bungeana)
  • Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)
  • Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergiana)
  • Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Ornamental Small Trees
  • Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
  • Threadleaf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum dissectum)
  • Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
  • Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)
  • Gray Birch (Betula populifolia)
  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Pink Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida rubra)
  • Japanese Dogwood (Cornus kousa)
  • Rutgers Hybrid Dogwoods (Cornus x Stellar Series)
  • Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana)
  • Star Magnolia (Magnolia kobus var. stellata)
  • Tea Crabapple (Malus hupehensis)
  • Japanese Crabapple (Malus floribunda)
  • Kwanzan Cherry (Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan')
  • Weeping Higan Cherry (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula')
  • Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford')

Ornamental Small Trees - East Meets West
  • Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum)
  • American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
  • Upright European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus 'Fastigiata')
  • Cockspur Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)
  • Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum)
  • Winter King Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis 'Winter King')
  • Franklinia (Franklinia alatamaha)
  • Common Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
  • Vernal Witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis)
  • Hybrid Witchhazel (Hamamelis x intermedia)
  • Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteda paniculata)
  • Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
  • Sorrel Tree (Oxydendrum arboreum)
  • Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia Pseudo-camellia)
  • Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata)

Lesser Conifers
  • Hinoki Falsecypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa)
  • Compact Hinoki Falsecypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Compacta')
  • Sawara Falsecypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera)
  • Threadleaf Sawara Falsecypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera')
  • Golden Threadleaf Sawara Falsecypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera Aurea')
  • Dwarf Gold Mop Falsecypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera Aurea Nana')
  • Leyland Cypress (X Cupressocyparis leylandii)
  • American Arborvitae (Thuja occiqentalis)
  • Oriental Arborvitae (Thuja orientalis)
  • Pfitzer Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Pfitzeriana')
  • Compact Pfitzer Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Pfitzeriana Compacta')
  • Hetz Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Hetzii')
  • Spiny Greek Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Pyramidalis')
  • Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata)
  • Cap Yew (Taxus cuspidata 'Capitata')
  • Dense Yew (Taxus x media 'Densiformis')
  • Spreading English Yew (Taxus baccata 'Repandens')

Deciduous Conifers

  • European Larch (Larix decidua)
  • Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)
  • Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

Broadleaf Evergreens
  • Japanese Aucuba (Aucuba japonica)
  • Wintergreen Barberry (Berberis julianae)
  • Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
  • English Holly (llex aquifolium)
  • Chinese Holly (llex cornuta)
  • Nellie Stevens Holly (llex x 'Nellie R. Stevens')
  • Japanese Holly (llex crenata)
  • Convexleaf Holly (llex crenata 'Convexa')
  • Heller Holly ( llex crenata 'Helleri')
  • Beehive Holly (llex crenata 'Beehive')
  • lnkberry Holly (llex glabra)
  • Meserve Hybrid Hollies (llex x meserveae)
  • American Holly (llex opaca)
  • Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
  • Oregon Grapeholly Mahonia (Mahonia aquifolium)
  • Leatherleaf Mahonia (Mahonia bealei)
  • Japanese Skimmia (Skimmia japonica)
  • Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea)
  • Leatherleaf Viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllym)
  • Adams-Needle Yucca (Yucca filimentosa)
  • Weakleaf Yucca (Yucca flaccida)

Rhododendron and Their Kin
  • Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
  • Drooping Leucothoe (Leucothoe fontanesiana)
  • Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica)
  • Catawba Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense)
  • Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum)
  • Snow Azalea (Rhododendron mucronatum)
  • Kurume Azalea (Rhododendron obtusum)
  • PJM Rhododendron (Rhododendron PJM)

Deciduous Shrubs and Vines
  • Glossy Abelia (Abelia grandiflora)
  • Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia)
  • Rock Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis)
  • Winged Euonymus (Euonymus alatus)
  • Compact Winged Euonymus or Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus 'Compactus')
  • Border Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia)
  • Winterberry Holly (llex verticillata)
  • Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • Crepe-myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
  • Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
  • Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)
  • Linden Viburnum (Viburnum dilitatum)
  • Double File Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum tomentosum)
  • Japanese Creeper (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)
  • Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)
  • Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
  • Clematis (Clematis x hybrids)

  • Carpet Bugle (Ajuga reptans)
  • Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • Crownvetch (Coronilla varia)
  • Rock Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis)
  • Bearberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri)
  • Barrenwort (Epimedium spp.)
  • Purpleleaf Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei 'Coloratus')
  • Sweet Woodruff (Gallium odorata)
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Baltic Ivy (Hedera helix var. baltica)
  • Bird's Foot Ivy (Hedera helix var. pedata)
  • Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.)
  • Hostas (Hosta spp.)
  • Candytuft (lberis sempervirens)
  • Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)
  • Andorra Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis cv. plumosus)
  • Bar Harbor Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis cv. Bar Harbor)
  • Waukegan Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis cv. douglasi)
  • Blue Rug Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis cv. wiltoni)
  • Sargent's Juniper (Juniperus chinensis sargentii)
  • Shore Juniper (Juniperus conferta)
  • Tam Juniper (Juniperus sabina tamariscifolia)
  • Big Blue Lily-Turf (Liriope muscari)
  • Hall's Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica 'Halliana')
  • Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)
  • Ground Phlox (Phlox subulata)
  • Gold Moss Stone Crop (Sedum acre)
  • Two Row Stone Crop (Sedum spurium)
  • Thyme (Thymus spp.)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

  • Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
  • David's Maple (Acer davidii)
  • Fullmoon Maple (Acer japonicum)
  • Nikko Maple (Acer maximowiczianum)
  • Korean Maple (Acer pseudosieboldianum)
  • Snakebark Maple (Acer rufinerve)
  • Manchu-striped Maple (Acer tegmentosum)
  • Beautyberry (Callicarpa spp.)
  • Japanese Hornbeam (Carpinus cordata)
  • Chinese Toon Tree (Cedrela sinensis)
  • Harlequin Glorybower (Clerodendron trichotomum)
  • Japanese Clethra (Clethra barbinervis)
  • Cinnamon Clethra (Clethra acuminata)
  • Daphne (Daphne spp.)
  • Dove Tree (Davidia involucrata)
  • Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
  • Disanthus cercidifolius
  • Redveined Enkianthus (Enkianthus campanulatus)
  • White Enkianthus (Enkianthus perulatus)
  • Dwarf Bottlebrush (Fothergilla gardenii)
  • Large Bottlebrush (Fothergilla major)
  • Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina)
  • Virginia Sweetspire (ltea virginica)
  • Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica)
  • Oriental Photinia (Photinia villosa)
  • Chinese Quince (Pseudocydonia sinensis)
  • Epaulette Tree (Pterostryrax hispidus)
  • Umbrella Pine (Sciadopytis verticillata)
  • Japanese Snowbell (Styrax japonicus)
  • Sapphireberry (Symplocos paniculata)
  • Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum piperitum)
  • Dusty Zenobia (Zenobia pulverulenta)
  • California Incense Cedar (Libocedrus decurrens)

Photos of Plant Identification Walks in the Rutgers Gardens


The January 3 - March 13, 2020 offering of this course was approved for the following credits. We will reapply for similar credits the next time the course runs, but we cannot guarantee credit approval for future offerings.

Certified Public Works Manager (CPWM) Credits
12 Technical

International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Credits
Certified Arborist: 38.5; BCMA Science: 13.75; BCMA Practice: 11;
BCMA Management: 13.75

NJ Licensed Professional Engineers

NJ Licensed Tree Experts

Who Should Attend this Landscape Plants Training Course

Whether working with plants is your profession or your personal passion, this course will provide you with practical knowledge that you can apply to all of your landscape plans and projects! Even if you've "been in the business" for years, you’ll walk away with new information and insights. Here are some of the types of people who have taken Landscape Plants: Identification, Selection and Application in the past:

  • Landscape Architects
  • Landscape Contractors
  • Landscape Designers
  • Landscape Managers/Foremen
  • Landscape Superintendents
  • Landscape Professionals
  • Groundskeepers
  • Garden Designers
  • Horticultural Enthusiasts
  • Master Gardeners
  • Nursery Professionals
  • Property Managers
  • Sales Representatives
  • Homeowners
Student Reviews of the Plant Identification, Selection and Application Course

"The education to help you succeed. I will use it when I meet with clients."
-- E. Cerino, Owner, Smiley's Lawn Care & Landscaping

"I thought I knew about trees before I started. I learned that I knew very little, and then learned a lot. There's no substitute for touching/seeing the real plant!"
-- N. Khanna, gardening enthusiast

"This class changed my life, loved it."

"This course is excellent. I've learned more in a few weeks than I have in years of landscaping."

"Awesome class. I will send future employees here who need plant knowledge."

"This class was highly inspirational. It completely changed the way I look at trees and plants."

"I will use everything learned in this class both for work and personal plantings."

"[I learned] how to properly identify plants [and recognize] problems with plants. I will use this to educate my clients and grow the quality of my business."

Meet the Instructional Team that will Teach You How to Identify Plants for Your Landscape

According to one recent student, "All of the instructors were amazing! They were totally dedicated to increasing our knowledge and to our success. Their passion is intoxicating!" Another student added, "The presenters really seem to love what they do and I really enjoyed coming here every week."

Steve Kristoph, Lead Instructor

Steve Kristoph is widely known for his encyclopedic knowledge of plant material. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in horticulture from Rutgers University, and he has been an adjunct instructor at Rutgers for over 25 years. He also owns and operates Steven Kristoph Nursery in Monmouth County, NJ, where he grows many types of ornamental trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials. The landscaping division of his business, P. Steven Kristoph Garden Design, serves both residential and commercial customers and offers a full range of services, including design, installation, maintenance and seasonal color. Steve is passionate about plants and enjoys sharing his passion with others. Plant walks with him are always an adventure!

Here's what past students have to say about Steve:

  • "[He] has forgotten more about landscaping plants than I will ever know!"
    -- M. Booth, Co-owner, Booth Brothers Landscaping
  • "I have never met someone as passionate about plants as Steve is!"
  • "Absolutely amazing, he knows his stuff."
  • "Excellent depth of knowledge and conveys it well."

Comments from Past Students about Derron Dover, Guest Lecturer

  • "Excellent knowledge and teacher."
  • "Very personable, pleasure to listen to."
  • "Very passionate and knowledgeable. More concerned about making sure we understand then just hearing himself talk."

Comments from Past Students about Alyson Tizzano, Field Assistant

  • "Her knowledge and dedication to review sessions and on tours add great value to the course."
  • "Explains plant ID features in very memorable and usable terms."
  • "Always goes out of her way to help, excellent knowledge."
Suggested Textbook and App

Students who plan to enroll in the Landscape Plants: Identification, Selection, and Application class may wish to purchase the following book:

The Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, 6th Edition by Michael Dirr

Another option is to download the Dirr Tree and Shrub Finder app for around $15.00.

Early Registration Fee TBD  
Registration Fee TBD  
Cancellation Fee TBD  

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


Continental breakfast will be provided for each day of the course at no additional cost.

NOTE: If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, please alert us at least one (1) week in advance of the course start date so that we can make reasonable accommodations. We cannot guarantee accommodations for special requests made after that time.


GPS systems may not recognize campus addresses. Even if they take you to the correct building, they will not take you to the assigned parking lot. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you use the directions we provide.

Extension Conference Center
18 Ag Extension Way, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Directions, Parking Information & Map


  • All visitors must register their vehicles online with the Rutgers Department of Transportation Services. A link will be provided in your course registration confirmation email. Be sure to complete this important step prior to traveling to campus.
  • All Rutgers faculty/staff/students must use their regular Rutgers permit and park in the nearest lot assigned for their permit type.
  • Citations/fines will be issued for failure to comply with these policies.

Note: Pre-registration is required. We're sorry, but we cannot guarantee a seat, materials or meals for walk-in registrants. Location is subject to change; registrants will be notified in the event of a change.


Sorry, registration is not currently available for this course.

Would you like to be notified when the next offering is scheduled? 
Here are 3 convenient ways to be added to our mailing list:
1. Click here to join our mailing list (please reference "Landscape Plants: Identification, Selection and Application" or Course Code AL0201) 
2. Call us at 848-932-9271, select option 3
3. E-mail us at ocpe@njaes.rutgers.edu

Program Questions? Contact Us!

Program Coordinator: Joe Canzano, 848-932-7317
Administrative Assistant: Beth Perez, 848-932-7483

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