Zlesak, David

David Zlesak

David Zlesak

Associate Professor of Horticulture

Plant and Earth Science
Office: 305 Ag Science Building
Phone: 715-425-3852


Courses Taught:

Horticulture 120: Plants and Society
Horticulture 161: Introduction to Plant Science
Horticulture 200: Plant Propagation
Horticulture 352: Woody Landscape Plants
Horticulture 369: Plant Tissue Culture
Horticulture 452: Arboriculture and Nursery Management

Research Interests:

  • Coordinator of the Northern Earth-Kind® Rose Trials (purpose is to identify well-adapted, low maintenance landscape roses for our northern Midwest region).
  • Woody plant pathology.
  • Breeding regionally-adapted woody and herbaceous landscape plant cultivars.


Lockhart, B, D.C. Zlesak, and J. Fetzer, 2011. Identification and partial characterization of six new viruses of cultivated roses in the USA. Acta Horticulturae 901:139-147.

Zlesak, D.C., V.M. Whitaker, S. George, and S.C. Hokanson, 2010. Evaluation of roses from the Earth-Kind® Trials: black spot (Diplocarpon rosae Wolf) resistance and ploidy. HortScience 45:177-1787.

Zlesak, D.C., 2009. Pollen diameter and guard cell length as predictors of ploidy in diverse rose cultivars, species, and breeding lines. In: Zlesak DC (Ed) Roses. Floriculture and Ornamental Biotechnology. 3(Special Issue 1):53-70.

Harp D.A., Zlesak, D.C., Hammond, G., George, S., and W. Mackay, 2009. Earth-Kind® Rose Trials–Identifying the World’s Strongest, Most Beautiful Landscape Roses. In: Zlesak DC (Ed) Roses. Floriculture and Ornamental Biotechnology. 3(Special Issue 1):166-175.

Zlesak, D.C. and B.J. Hanson, 2008. ‘Tuscan Sun’ Helopsis. HortScience 43:927-928. Grabowski, M.A, Zlesak, D.C., and J.H. Gillman, 2008. Control of black spot on rose. Plant Disease Management Reports 2:OT005

Zlesak, D.C., 2007. Factors affecting seed germination of Heliopsis helianthoides (L.) Sweet. Seed Science and Technology 35:577-594.

Zlesak, D.C., Zuzek, K. and S.C. Hokanson, 2007. Rose pollen viability over time at varying storage temperatures. Acta Horticulturae 751:337-343.

Zlesak, D.C., Bradeen, J.M. and N.O. Anderson, 2007. The use of AFLP markers to resolve clonal origin and integrity in rose, hydrangea, and lily. Floriculture and Ornamental Biotechnology. 1(1):51-60.

Horticulture Specializations:  

Woody plant identification, culture, pathology, and genetics; Plant propagation; and Plant breeding.


  • First Editions® Little DevilTM ninebark (PPAF)- Compact ninebark that won the 2011 American Nursery Landscape Association’s Garden Idol Award as the best new plant of the year
  • Oso HappyTM Smoothie rose (PPAF) 
  • Oso HappyTM Petit Pink rose (PP22,205)- Winner of the American Rose Society Award of Excellence for miniature roses 2012
  • Oso HappyTM Candy Oh! rose (PP20,471)
  • 'Tuscan Sun' heliopsis (PP18,763)
  • Monarch MedianoTM and Monarch GrandeTM series of ageratum (PPAF)