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Landscape Plants: Identification, Selection and Application

Course Code: AL0201CA19

Landscape Design Training: Plant Identification & Selection

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Date & Time

Last Held: January 4 - March 15, 2019
11 consecutive Friday mornings
8:30am - 12:00pm (Check in time on Day 1: 8:00am)

Next offering tentatively planned for January - March 2020. 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.

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!

Photos of Plant Identification Walks in the Rutgers Gardens

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


The January - March 2019 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

NJ Licensed Professional Engineers
38.5 credits

NJ Licensed Tree Experts
15 CEUs for LTE and LTCO

Rutgers CEUs

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 (soft cover book; cost is approximately $95-$100)

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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Attention U.S. Veterans

All of the courses offered by the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education are approved by the New Jersey State Approving Agency for Veterans Training for educational benefits through the GI Bill. For more information about the GI Bill, click here.

Check Out These Similar Courses

Introduction to Plant Identification 
Take this course before Landscape Plants: Identification, Selection and Application.

Landscape Design I: The Basics
This 8-week course will provide an understanding of "The Basics" of landscape design. You’ll cover a wide range of topics including drafting techniques, the history of design, effective use of outdoor space, hardscaping creativity, appropriate plant materials, and graphic styles.

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