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Guide To Midwestern Trees And Shrubs Now On CD-ROM

Here”s something new for gardeners who have run through all the winter plant catalogs. It”s Landscape Plants of the Upper Midwest, a CD-ROM featuring color photos and information on more than 600 species and varieties of trees, shrubs, vines and ground covers that grow in the region.

The CD is an interactive guide that will be used in teaching University of Wisconsin-Madison horticulture students. But it”s also valuable to serious landscapers and gardeners, who can specify certain plant attributes and search the CD-ROM to find a plant that”s just right for almost any situation.

“When we began to consider this project, we looked at a couple of the CDs currently on the market,” says Bill Hoch, who teaches the landscape plant class at the UW-Madison”s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Hoch says that comparable CDs today are meant for a national audience. That means that much of the space on these CD-ROMs is consumed with information about and pictures of plants that grow in other regions, such as the Atlantic Coast, Southwest or Pacific West.

“Consequently, the commercially available CDs feature relatively few plants of interest to gardeners in Wisconsin,” says Hoch. “They also cost several times as much as our CD.”

Instead, Landscape Plants of the Upper Midwest focuses only on common ornamental and landscape plants that grow in the USDA”s plant hardiness zones 3, 4 and 5. The CD features 1,800 large, color photos. The images show the plants” overall shape, and close-ups of features such as the leaves, flowers, fruit or fall color. The CD also includes information on proper care of trees and shrubs, including the correct techniques for pruning the plants.

To order a copy of Landscape Plants of the Upper Midwest, send a check for $19.95 made payable to the UW-Madison Department of Horticulture to: Landscape Plants CD, Department of Horticulture, 1575 Linden Dr., UW-Madison, Madison, WI 53706.

The CD can be run on either an IBM or Macintosh computer. IBM compatible machines should be 486 PC or higher with Windows 3.1/95/NT. Macintosh machines should have a 68020 or greater processor. Either system must have 4 MB RAM (with +8 MB recommended), 2 MB free hard disk space and a 2X or faster CD-ROM drive.