Cathy Neal, Ph.D.

Cathy Neal, Ph.D.

Extension Professor/Specialist, Nursery and Landscape Horticulture

Educational Background:

  • B.S. University of Massachusetts
  • M.S. Cornell University
  • Ph.D. Cornell University


Cathy works primarily on developing and conducting educational programming for nursery and landscape professionals in New Hampshire, working closely with the professional associations to assess the industry's high prioriy educational needs. The current focus of these efforts is on creating and maintaining landscapes that are both beautiful and functional in providing ecological services such as runoff water management, wildlife habitat, biodiverstiy, organic waste recycling, and protection of soil and water quality.

Cathy holds a split appointment with: 70% of her time devoted to Extension, 30% to related reserach and 10% to teaching and advising horticulture students. She has experience with the University of Florida Extension and has been at UNH for twelve years. Her primary interests are in nursery production and landscape establishment and maintenance. She teaches classes in Introductory Horticulture and in Landscape Management, and coordinates the internship program for horticulture majors.

Current Research:

  • Nursery production systems - evaluating alternatives to field production for NE nurseries that conserve soil and are economically viable; assessing the production system effects on tree root structure and long-term plant health. This is a collaborative project with UMass Amherst faculty, funded by a grant from the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
  • Root cold tolerance and overwintering practices for nursery stock - this project will reduce the risk involved with overwintering container-grown plants and make local plant production more feasible. Funded in part by NH Agricultural Experiment Station.
  • Investigating best techniques for establishing meadow gardens using native grasses and wildflowers -- this project aims to help property owners/landscapers turn excess lawn areas or weedy areas into low-maintenance meadows that provide habitat for birds and pollinators and provide stormwater infiltration areas with minimal inputs. Funded in part by the New Hampshire Horticulture Endowment and the Tuttle Endowment for Environmental Horticulture.


  • Multi-county Extension Agent, Commercial Ornamentals and Turf, Univ. of Florida, Sanford and surrounding counties in central Florida.
  • Agricultural Commodity Grader USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service, Indianapolis, Indiana

Professional Associations

  • American Society for Horticultural Science
  • International Plant Propagators Society
  • International Society of Arboriculture
  • N.H. Plant Growers Association N.H. Landscape Association
  • N.H. Association of County Extension Educators; National Association of County Agricultural Agents

Program Specialty Areas:

  • Program emphasis is on efficient and environmentally-sound production methods and landscape practices, especially nutrient and water management. Production systems and cultural practices are being evaluated which maximize growth in our short season, such as use of the pot-in-pot production system and innovative over-wintering methods. Selection, planting and establishment practices for landscapes.

Select Publications:

  • Landscaping at the Water's Edge: An Ecological Approach
  • Planting and Mulching Trees and Shrubs
  • Efficient Water Use in the Landscape and Nursery
  • Slow Release Fertilizers
  • Best Plants for New Hampshire Gardens and Landscapes
Cathy Neal
Spaulding Hall
Durham, NH 03824