UC Davis horticulturists are evaluating landscape plants with the potential to be good performers in low-water use gardens. In the first years of the trials, these plants were from the UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars lists, while today the plants are exciting new cultivars provided by growers and breeders who want to evaluate their new plant varieties for low-water use in hot California gardens. The results of these trials are providing growers and retailers the information they need to successfully distribute and market these plants to the public.
To find out more about the trials and see more pictures, visit the trial's facebook page!
After being grown for a full year on a regular watering regime to establish deep, healthy roots, plants are irrigated through the second growing season with one of three different irrigation frequencies that correspond to the Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS IV) categories of Low, Moderate, and High. (These categories are based on percentages of reference evapotranspiration with local weather station data used to estimate these percentages.)
Height and width are measured monthly to calculate a growth index for each species at each irrigation level. Overall appearance, flowering time and duration, and pest or disease problems are rated monthly to provide a comprehensive assessment of performance, allowing us to make irrigation recommendations for these plants. This data allows growers to provide good information in marketing their product to the consumer.
Funding has been provided by our cooperating growers and by:
- The California Association of Nurserymen Endowment for Research and Scholarship
- The Elvenia J. Slosson Endowment for Ornamental Horticulture
- The Saratoga Horticultural Research Endowment