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Mark H. Brand, Professor of Horticulture
Education | Honors and Activities | Teaching | Current Projects | Publications | Graduate Publications
Ph. D. 1988, The Ohio State University
M. S. 1985, The Ohio State University
B. S. 1982, Cornell University
International Editorial Board, Propagation of Ornamental Plants, 2000-present.
UConn Ag. & Natural Resources Alumni Assoc. Excellence in Teaching Award. (2004).
American Society for Horticultural Science Extension Publication Award (2004).
Chancellors Information Technology Award – University of Connecticut (2001).
American Society for Horticultural Science Extension Materials Award (1997).

HORT 3410/SAPL 0410,   Woody Plants I: Common Trees, Shrubs and Vines.
HORT 3420/SAPL 0420,   Woody Plants II: Uncommon Trees, Shrubs and Vines.
HORT 3640/SAPL 0640,   Plant Propagation.
HORT 298/SAPL 059,       Evaluating and Staging Horticultural Materials


Solutions to Invasive Ornamental Shrubs
Berberis thunbergii
(Japanese barberry) and Euonymus alata (burning bush) are two valuable landscape shrubs that represent millions of dollars annually through the sale of horticulturally useful cultivars. Unfortunately, both species can be invasive. We are evaluating the invasive potential of horticultural cultivars to ascertain if they pose a similar invasive threat to that posed by wild forms of each plant. We are also working to create sterile forms of each species and to determine the origin of invasive populations using genetic fingerprinting technology. We are also working with Buddleja. Our primary goal with this genus is to develop dwarf or compact forms that are sterile and maintain zone 5 cold hardiness.

Development of Horticultural Internet Resources
The World Wide Web has become an excellent educational tool, providing students and the public easy access to information presented in innovative and unique ways. I have created a web application called the "UConn Plant Database" that presents pictures and information about more than 500 trees, shrubs and vines that are grown in U.S.D.A hardiness zone 6 or colder. "Virtual Campus Plant Walks" accompany this collection of plant information, and allow students to review outdoor campus plant walks over the Internet. The "Plant Selector" provides users with a tool to choose plants that meet ornamental characteristics and landscape situations they specify in an internet browser form.

Ornamental Plant Breeding
I have introduced 11 cold hardy rhododendron cultivars that are well adapted to the climate of New England and similar regions. The rhododendron breeding program was started in 1960 by Dr. Gustav Mehlquist with the goal of developing durable, cold-hardy rhododendrons with new flower colors, improved growth habits and disease and insect resistance. Introduced in 1999, the "Raise the Roof" series of rhododendrons were all given basketball-related names to celebrate the women’s and men’s NCAA basketball championships. Although unusual, the names ‘Buzzer Beater’, ‘Hoopla’, ‘Huskymania’, ‘March Madness’, ‘Slam Dunk’, and ‘Tip Off’ have been well received and are proving to be popular. Other rhododendron introductions are ‘Carole Ray’, ‘Connecticut Yankee’, ‘Firestorm’, ‘White Peter’, and ‘Wojnar’s Purple’. Halesia tetraptera 'UConn Wedding Bells' is a multistemmed selection of Carolina silver bell that blooms prolifically, with flowers that open wider than is typical for the genus. Ruby Ribbons switch grass (Panicum virgatum 'RR1') is a recent patented and trademarked ornamental grass that I bred. It has blue-green base foliage that turns a deep wine-red color weeks earlier than other red switch grasses. It is being launched for wholesale production by Ball Horticultural Co.

Native Shrub Improvement Program
Shrub species native to the northeastern United States have been overlooked as ornamental landscape plants. There is growing interest in the use of native species as people look to replace invasive exotic species and cultivate landscapes that blend harmoniously with surrounding natural vegetation. My program is currently focused on the genera Aronia (Photinia), Myrica (Morella) and Physocarpus with the objective of evaluating, selecting and breeding superior genotypes for landscape use.


Lehrer, J. M., M. H. Brand and J. D. Lubell. 200X. Irradiance levels affect leaf color and growth of offspring derived from three cultivars of Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii DC.). J. Environmental Horticulture (in review).

Lehrer, J. M., M. H. Brand and J. D. Lubell. 200X. Induction of tetraploidy in Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii DC.) seedlings through exposure to colchicine and oryzalin. Scientia Horticulturae (in review).


Lubell, J. D. and M. H. Brand. 2008. Detecting cultivar influence in invasive populations of Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii: Berberidaceae) using AFLP. American J. of Botany 95(6): 1-7.


Lubell, J. D., M. H. Brand and J. M. Lehrer. 2008. AFLP identification of Berberis thunbergii cultivars, inter-specific hybrids, and their parental species. J. Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 83(1): 55-63.


Gagliardi, J. A. and M. H. Brand. 2007. Connecticut nursery and landscape industry preferences for solutions to the sale and use of invasive plants. HortTechnology 17(1):39-45.


Brand, M. H. 2006. Ornamental Plant Transformation. In: Plant Biotechnology in Ornamental Horticulture, J. of Crop Improvement. 17(1/2):27-50 and Brand, M. H. 2006. Ornamental Plant Transformation, p. 27-50. In: Y. Li and Y. Pei (eds.) Plant biotechnology in ornamental horticulture. The Haworth Press, Binghamton, New York.


Lehrer, J. M., M. H. Brand and J. D. Lubell. 2006. Tackling a thorny issue. American Nurseryman 204(8):30-36.


Lehrer, J. M., M. H. Brand and J. D. Lubell. 2006. Four cultivars of Japanese barberry demonstrate differential reproductive potential under landscape conditions. HortScience 41(3):762-767.


Lehrer, J. M., M. H. Brand and J. D. Lubell. 2006. Seedling populations produced by Colored-leaf genotypes of Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii DC.) contain seedlings with green leaf phenotype. J. Environmental Horticulture 24(3):133-136.


Lubell, J. D. and M. H. Brand. 2005. Division size and timing influence propagation of four species of Epimedium. HortScience 40(5):1444-1447.


Lubell, J. D., D. Thompson and M. H. Brand. 2005. Foliar sprays of benzyladenine increase bud and propagule production in Epimedium x rubrum Morren and Helleborus x hybridus L. Ornamental Plant Propagation 5:19-22.


Brand, M. H. 2005. Switch-hitters. American Nurseryman 201(1):24-27.


Brand, M. H. 2004. Eight great grasses. (cover story) Fine Gardening 100:63-67.


Lehrer, J. M. and M. H. Brand. 2004. Seed production levels and seedling traits of Berberis thunbergii cultivars. Combined Proceedings of the International Plant Propagator’s Society. vol. 53 (in press).


Harvey, M. P., G. Elliott and M. H. Brand. 2004. Growth response of Hakonechloa macra (Makino) ‘Aureola’ to fertilizer formulation, rate and media pH. HortScience 39:261-266.


Brand, M. H. 2004. Grasses, rushes and sedges, oh my! Fine Gardening 97: 88-90.


Lehrer, J. M. and M. H. Brand. 2003. An interactive online database for the selection of woody ornamental plants. HortTechnology 13:562-568.


Harvey, M. P. and M. H. Brand. 2002. Growth and macronutrient accumulation of Chasmanthium latifolium (Michx.) Yates and Hakonechloa macra Makino 'Aureola' in response to temperature. HortScience 37(5):765-767.


Harvey, M. P. and M. H. Brand. 2001. Division size and shade density influence growth and container production of Hakonechloa macra Makino 'Aureola'. HortScience 37:196-199.


Brand, M. H. and R. L. Leonard. 2001. Consumer product and service preferences related to landscape retailing. HortScience 36:1111-1116.


Knapp, J. E., A. P. Kausch, C. Auer and M. H. Brand. 2001. Transformation of Rhododendron through microprojectile bombardment. Plant Cell Rpts 20:749-754.


Brand, M. H. and G. A. L. Mehlquist. 2001. 'Buzzer Beater', 'Hoopla', 'Huskymania', and 'Slam Dunk' rhododendrons. HortScience 36:180-182 and cover.


Colangelo, D. J. and M. H. Brand. 2001. Nitrate leaching beneath a containerized nursery crop receiving trickle or overhead irrigation. J. Envirn. Qual. 30:1564-1574.


Patents and Trademarks:


United States Plant Patent awarded for “Panicum virgatum ‘RR1’”, 2007.

United States Trademark awarded for “Ruby Ribbons switchgrass”, 2007.

United States Trademark awarded for “Raise the Roof Rhododendrons”, 2003.


Recent Graduate Students:

Eric W. Mercure, Ph.D. Ornamental Horticulture, 1998. “Understanding the basis for in vitro tissue proliferation of Rhododendron ‘Montego’”. Currently Head of Tissue Culture Propagation and New Crops Development at Paramount Farming Co., Bakersfield, CA.

David J. Colangelo, M.S. Ornamental Horticulture, 1998. “Effects of irrigation type and controlled release fertilizer on nitrate leaching from container nursery production areas”. Currently a Senior Environmental Scientist for the Kissimmee Division, South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, FL.

Jonathan M. Lehrer, M.S. Ornamental Horticulture, 2002. “An interactive online database for the selection of woody ornamental plants”. Continued as a Ph.D. student, Dept. of Plant Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.

Michael Harvey, M.S. Ornamental Horticulture, 2004. “Considerations for enhancing the nursery container production of Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’”. Currently a sustainable landscape designer in private practice in Providence, RI.

Jessica D. Lubell, M.S. Ornamental Horticulture, 2004. “Influence of division size and timing on propagation of Epimedium”. Currently a Ph.D. student, Dept. of Plant Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.

Dale M. Thompson, M.S. Ornamental Horticulture, 2004. “Effects of benzyladenine concentration and application volume on Epimedium x rubrum E. Morren and Helleborus x hybridus L.  ‘Royal Heritage’”. Currently a sustainable landscape designer in private practice in Wales, Great Britain.

Jonathan M. Lehrer Ph.D. Ornamental Horticulture, 2007. “Horticultural strategies to counter invasive Japanese barberrry (Berberis thunbergii)”. Currently an Assistant Professor, Ornamental Horticulture, Farmingdale State College, New York.

Maria L. Clements, M.S. Ornamental Horticulture, 2007. “In vitro induction of polyploidy, rooting and overcoming the dormancy limitations of Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’”. Currently an Instructor in Ornamental Horticulture, SUNY Cobleskill, New York.

Jessica D. Lubell, Ph.D. Ornamental Horticulture, In Progress. “Examination of cultivar contribution to Japanese barberrry (Berberis thunbergii) invasive populations using molecular and field studies”.

William Smith, Ph.D. Ornamental Horticulture, In Progress. “Development of dwarf and sterile Buddleja davidii germplasm through haploid induction and mutation breeding”.

  Mark H. Brand
University of Connecticut

1390 Storrs Rd., Unit 4163
Department of Plant Science
Agricultural Biotechnology Lab
Storrs, Connecticut 0626

Telephone: (860) 486-2930
fax: (860) 486-0682
email: mark.brand@uconn.edu
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