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Urban Approved

Featured Image: Quercus x schuettei, Hybrid Swamp x Bur Oak

The goal of the Urban Approved standard is to be the starting point when selecting plants for difficult sites in built-up areas. Decisions regarding the Urban Approved title are made conservatively, and we will not grant the title to a plant that has not been adequately tested.

What it is:

Urban Approved is a new standard developed by Johnson’s Nursery to highlight trees, shrubs, evergreens, and perennials that are reliable performers in the toughest urban environments. These plants have been evaluated by our staff to succeed in areas where other plants may struggle or fail. To be designated as Urban Approved, plants must meet the following standards:

1. They must be tolerant of a wide range of site and soil conditions. Learn more about Urban Site Challenges >>
2. They must possess good structure and be resistant to disease. Learn more about Structure and Disease Resistance >>
3. They should have one or more characteristics that makes them better suited to urban environments than other plants. Learn more about Preferred Characteristics of Urban Plants >>



Here are examples of plants we typically recommend as Urban Approved: Yes.

What it is not:

The Urban Approved standard is not a replacement for sound judgement when siting a plant. It is the individual’s responsibility to determine if their planting location meets the minimum Light and Site requirements of a plant as listed on our Knowledgebase.

Additionally, the Urban Approved standard is not an exclusive list of plants for urban areas. In fact, most of the plants we carry can, and do, succeed in less-than-ideal sites. Non-approved plants may meet most of the standards outlined above, but only plants that meet all of our criteria are given the Urban Approved title. If you have questions, check the plant profile in question or contact one of our horticulturists.

Most importantly, plants are living things. In our over 50 years of experience evaluating, selecting, and researching plants, we’ve learned that even the best-suited plant may fail in a location due to factors beyond our control. While a plant may be Urban Approved, it does not mean it is maintenance free and requires no supplemental care through its lifetime. It is the responsibility of the individual to care for their establishing plants and provide adequate water, mulch, and attention for them to look their best.