In this section:
Exam Review Classes
Winter Identification of Deciduous Woody Landscape Plants
Landscape Plant Materials Summer Course
Study Help

Exam Review Classes

This course reviews information in the manual for people who are taking the NHCLP. It is also open to non-exam takers.

The next Review Sessions will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays March 12, 14, 19 and 21. The classes will be from 6 pm to 9 pm. The location will be set based on where participants are located and site availability.
There is a minimum of 5 participants for the course to be held.

Material covered:

  • Session 1: Botany, Soils, Fertilizers, Composting
  • Session 2: Plant Identification, Plant Nomenclature, Plant Hardiness, Native and Invasive Plants
  • Session 3: Turf, Planting Instructions, Plant Maintenance, Safety
  • Session 4: Landscape Design, Hardscape, Bidding and Estimating

Register with the Review Course Registration Form.
Questions: Contact Patty Laughlin, Lorax Landscaping, 603-303-0179,

Information on taking the NHCLP Exam

Winter Identification of Deciduous
Woody Landscape Plants

This one day course will expand your skills in identifying deciduous woody landscape plants in the winter landscape. In NH, deciduous woody plants have leaves for only 5-6 months a year, therefore winter identification skills are very important in the landscape industry.

In the first part, winter morphology including fruit, twig and bud features and bark types will be covered in the classroom. ID Keys that can help with identification, both those online and in book form,will be reviewed as well. The second part will be outside reviewing and practicing winter identification of common woody landscape plants.

Participants should bring a hand lens and a penknife or leatherman. There will be some provided.

Prospective NHCLPs planning to take the plant identification portion of the exam in March are encouraged to attend.

The course has been approved for 2 NHCLP recertification credits.

Audience: those with previous plant ID experience

Date: Will be scheduled for next winter. Please check back.

Time: 9:00 am-4:00 pm

Location: TBD based on location of participants

Instructor: Dana M. Sansom, Associate Professor Horticultural Technology, Thompson School of Applied Science,

Fee: $75.00, $60.00 for each additional person from the same company.

To Register: Email Patty Laughlin, NHCLP coordinator,, and mail check to NHLA Certification Committee, c/o Patty Laughlin, P.O. Box 253, Epping, NH 03042.

Landscape Plant Materials Summer Course

This course teaches the basics of plant identification and identification of each of the plants on the NHCLP (New Hampshire Certified Landscape Professional) Plant Identification List.

The purpose is to teach plant materials to people who are new to the industry or people with little plant knowledge. The first class introduces students to methods of identification and plant families and the rest of the classes are spent identifying plant material. The NHCLP Plant Identification List covers a wide range of common plant materials used in the landscape industry.

Audience:  This course is appropriate for anyone who wants to strengthen their plant material knowledge and is also designed to prepare people for the Identification portion of the NHCLP Exam. It is open to both members of NHLA and non-members.

Dates & Times:  Wednesday 5:00 – 8:30 pm; June 13 – August 29, 2018 (12 weeks); optional review or practice exam on September 5th (to be decided by the class)
Location(s):  Please indicate your location preference when you register.*

A: Many classes will be held at Millican Nurseries, Chichester, NH. Some classes will be held at nurseries, parks and estates in the Concord area.
B: Many classes will be held at Rolling Green Nursery, Greenland, NH. Some classes will be held at nurseries, parks and estates in the NH Seacoast area.

Cost: $450.00 per student


A:  Dana M. Sansom; Retired Professor of Horticultural Technology, Thompson School of Applied Science
B:  Abby Zuidema; Owner, Mosaic Plant Design, Horticultural Technology Instructor, Thompson School of Applied Science.

Format: Students will learn the identifying features and landscape value of the plants on the Plant List in the Certification manual. Students who attain a 60% average on weekly quizzes and the NHLA Plant ID Exam will receive a certificate of course completion.

The Plant ID portion of the NHLA Certification exam is usually held a week or two after the end of this course.

To register:
Send contact information and payment to:
NHLA Certification Committee
c/o Patty Laughlin
P.O. Box 253
Epping, NH 03042

Checks should be made out to NHLA with ‘Plant ID course’ on the memo line.
Contact information should include names of those attending, company, address, phone number, e-mail address and location preference.

*Classes at the two locations will be filled based on the request and the date payment is received. If the preferred location is full when payment is received the participant will have the option to attend the class at the second location or decline to attend.

Questions: Email Patty Laughlin, NHCLP coordinator,


Study Help:

Private Tutoring Available: Contact Patty Laughlin for information and fees.

Click here to get study tips for learning your plants.

The plant identification list has been revised. The new list can be downloaded by clicking here, or from Patty Laughlin. The exam will be taken from the new list.

A knowledgeable person in any phase of the landscape industry must know how to identify plants, their features and landscape value.  Plant identification is one of the major parts of the New Hampshire Certified Landscape examination.

The most important skill used in successful plant identification is the ability to observe and define the characteristics of an individual plant including the structure and texture of stems, leaves, flowers and fruit, as well as any available roots.  Visual clues as well as the feel and scent of the plant are used.

Knowledge of a plant includes knowing both the common and scientific name.  GRIN Taxonomy for Plants (USDA) and the Manual of Woody Plants (M. Dirr.) are the primary references used for the scientific names.

Native status was determined using the USDA Plant Database Native Status.  On the plant list, if a plant is native to one state in New England (ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI) it is listed as native here.

Certification candidates are asked to identify, from samples and/or pictures, 40 plants selected from the plants in this list.  (The number in parenthesis after each heading on the Plant List indicates the number of that type of plant on the plant ID portion of the Certification Exam out of the number of plants in that section.)

Horticopia (a plant database software program) can be purchased from There are many different versions but the Horticopia Professional Edition is $140.00 and has most of the plants on the NHCLP list except for weeds. It can also be used to make up plant info sheets for customers. also has pictures of the plants that you can access for free but there are usually just one picture for each plant.

Other good plant identification resources include Virginia Tech Fact Sheets:; UConn Plant Database:; Cornell Herbaceous Perennials:; and the Missouri Botanical Gardens Plant Finder: