SHRE Proposals funded for 2017-2018
Evaluating new landscape rose introductions for sustainability in California
Karrie Reid, UCCE Environmental Horticulture Advisor, San Joaquin County
Michael V. Schwartz, Academic Assistant to Horticulture, Naugatuck Community College; President/COO of American Rose Trials for Sustainability
David Fujino, Ph.D., California Center for Urban Horticulture
This project seeks to establish a permanent site in the Central Valley of California for inclusion in the American Rose Trials for Sustainability (ARTS). These 2-year trials, which will be open to the public, address the need for colorful, low-input landscape plants through regional evaluation and testing of new cultivars without the addition of fertilizers or pest control products. Plants are only given moderate irrigation during their trial period, and may be kept for an additional year to evaluate their performance on even lower water-use levels. Many landscape roses are known to be rich sources of pollen for pollinators and other beneficial insects, and some are even attractive for their nectar. This site will be a rich source of information for western gardeners and nurserymen for this important genus of landscape plants for years to come, guiding them toward low-water, disease-resistant, pest-tolerant cultivars, and as such will fulfill SHRE’s research goals 2 through 6.
Evaluating Epilobium (Zauschneria) canum cultivars for floral traits and attraction of beneficials
Rachel Vannette, Dept. of Entomology and Nematology,UC Davis
David W. Fujino, Ph.D., California Center for Urban Horticulture, UC Davis
A key goal in California horticulture is the marketing and development of robust native plant species and varieties that promote multiple ecosystem services, including supporting native populations of beneficial insects, contributing positive visual appeal, and low water and maintenance. Here, we propose to compare floral characteristics and attraction of beneficial organisms among cultivar types within the genus Epilobium, hereafter Zauschneria. Few plants from this genus are currently propagated and commercially available, despite their promise as robust native plant species. More importantly, this species provides key floral resources for a variety of animals during the late summer and fall. Work proposed here will 1) compare floral traits and 2) beneficial insect and bird attraction across 10 cultivars within Z. canum. Data will be used to examine which floral traits enhance attractiveness to beneficial insects and birds and provide recommendations for varieties based on these replicated observational data. Statistical analysis will examine which floral traits (e.g. display size, color, floral number, corolla size etc) are correlated with attractiveness to particular pollinator or beneficial insect guilds. These data can be used to increase cultivation and marketing of this underused native California species with robust evaluations of their contribution to important ecosystem services.
Development of drought-tolerant California native plant materials for predators, parasitoids and pollinators
Neal M. Williams, Ph.D., Dept. of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis
Kimiora L. Ward, Dept. of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis
Ellen Zagory, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden
This project supports the horticultural industry by expanding the palette of native wildflowers used in California gardens, ornamental and other urban landscapes, by identifying drought tolerant species and by optimizing plant materials to benefit bees, predators and parasitoids while minimizing attractiveness to pests. We will accomplish this by comparing data on plant establishment from seed in irrigated and non-irrigated conditions and by assessing the potential of specific plant species to support key pests and natural enemies as well as bees. These data will parameterize an innovative decision tool allowing identification of most cost effective plant species for support of beneficial insects while minimizing pests. We will work with the UC Davis Arboretum to ensure the tool and our analysis incorporate horticulturally-relevant costs and benefits of each species, and we will partner with them to integrate recommendations into the UC Davis Arboretum plant lists (e.g., All-Stars).