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Plant Propagator - Arnold Arboretum

Thursday, October 13, 2022 12:43 PM | Charissa Sharkey (Administrator)

Since 1873, Arnold Arboretum plant propagators have been instrumental in providing direction and leadership on woody plant propagation to other gardens and arboreta, the nursery industry, and the public. This rich history was carved out by the Arboretum’s inaugural plant propagator, Jackson Dawson, and the other successive propagators, who have pioneered aspects of seed and clonal propagation over the last 150 years.

Position Description

1. Propagation: Responsible for the planning and propagation execution of plants destined for the Arnold Arboretum's living collections.

  • Conducts programmatic research on the most effective propagation methods of a diversity of woody plants. Manages the systematic repropagation of significant Arnold Arboretum lineages through manipulating the dynamic desiderata list, utilizing BG-BASE records, and field-checking the status of desired individuals and their clones. (10%)
  • Propagates plants for the Arboretum and/or distribution to collaborators and members. This is not limited to the act of propagation but carries through the growing on of plant material until it is actively established in the nursery system or ready for distribution. (20%)
  • Creates and evaluates innovative propagation protocols. Accomplishes self-initiated and directed experiments. Timely publication and presentation of results in professional journals and at society conferences, respectively. Collaborates with nursery professionals, affiliated researchers, and personnel at other botanical institutions. (15%)
  • Actively participates in the Arboretum's introduction program, Arnold Selects. Assists with plant selection, propagation trials, distribution to partners, publications, and cultivar registration. (5%)

2. Management: Shares responsibility for staff oversight, record keeping, and greenhouse and nursery maintenance. Plays a leadership role in the department.

  • Supervises staff, term employees, and interns. Is responsible for the efficient completion of tasks and projects as assigned by the Head of Plant Production and for the communication of issues concerning the above in a timely manner. (15%)
  • Shares responsibility for maintaining up-to-date propagation, greenhouse, and nursery records in BG-BASE or other database deemed appropriate. Takes part in regularly inventorying plants in the aforementioned areas. (10%)
  • Shares accountability for maintenance and operations of the greenhouse and nurseries. This includes, but is not limited to, accessioning, labeling, inventorying, watering, transplanting, and other associated duties required for maintaining healthy propagules growing within the facilities. (15%)

3. Education: Furthers the engagement and educational mission of the Arboretum through teaching and lecturing in Arboretum-sponsored classes and events for the public and interns. Authors articles in Arboretum print and online publications. (10%)

Please note: The normal work schedule is Sunday through Thursday. The Plant Production Department is a 7-day-a-week operation, and occasional holidays and additional weekend hours are required. In the absence of the Head of Plant Production, this position provides emergency coverage. This position is 100% onsite in Jamaica Plain, MA. Please submit a cover letter in your application. 

Basic Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree in horticulture, botany, or related field, with at least five years’ experience in plant propagation, production, tissue culture, and/or nursery management.


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