- Author: Ann Filmer
A research project initiated in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis evaluates landscape plants in two-year trials under varying irrigation levels to determine the best irrigation level for optimal plant performance in regions requiring supplemental summer water. Creating water budgets is required by California's Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO), and the results from these research trials help landscape professionals and home gardeners make informed decisions when specifying, selecting or promoting low water-use landscape plant material.
This year, the CDFA/USDA Specialty Crops Multistate Program funded a new Climate Ready Landscape Plants project, which will replicate the successful fields that are currently installed at UC Davis and UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine.
Loren Oki, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, is the lead principal investigator and collaborators include researcher Jared Sisneroz; project leader Karrie Reid, UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor in San Joaquin County; and Darren Haver, UC Cooperative Extension water resources and water quality advisor and director of South Coast REC and UCCE in Orange County.
Under Oki's oversight, this new $999,992 grant will support the development of additional fields at several western universities:
- University of Washington, Soo-Hyung Kim
- Oregon State University, Lloyd Nackley and Ryan Contreras
- Utah State University Center, Youping Sun and Larry Rupp
- University of Arizona, Ursula Schuch
Conducting these new experiments on landscape plants at diverse sites across the western U.S. will reveal differences in recommendations since irrigation guidelines for landscapes vary depending on climate and soil type.
The initial project was initiated as Reid's master's degree thesis research in 2004, with Oki as her major professor, and has been ongoing since then.
Project descriptions, results and images can be seen at the UC Landscape Plant Irrigation Trials website at https://ucanr.edu/sites/UCLPIT.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Construction of a new parking lot for the ANR building in Davis is providing an opportunity for UC ANR to demonstrate science at the site by integrating an ongoing water-quality research project.
The research project on the recently purchased 10 acres at 3031 Second St. was developed by Missy Gable, director of the Master Gardener Program; Loren Oki, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in environmental horticulture at UC Davis; Igor Lacan, UC Cooperative Extension urban forestry advisor for San Mateo County; and Marq Truscott, a retired landscape architect who lectures for the Landscape Architecture Program at UC Davis.
The researchers will evaluate the effect of parking surfaces paved with different materials and coupled to rain garden swales on storm water runoff quality and quantity, according to Jan Corlett, chief of staff to the vice president, who is overseeing the project.
The study area of the parking lot will have the swales and three different surface types – typical asphalt, a cellular confinement system and permeable pavers. The researchers will study how these features improve water quality by removing pollutants and reduce runoff volumes by improving soil infiltration. They will be able to collect samples of runoff water from the different paved surfaces.
In addition, all trees planted in the parking lot will have engineered substrates to demonstrate their long-term effect on tree health and condition.
The new lot will add 92 full-sized, paved parking spaces and 40 parking spaces on gravel to the existing 96 spaces at 2801 Second St.
In 2016, a team that did planning for the 3031 Second St. site envisioned a collaborative, systemwide showcase, supported by the following key goals:
- Enhance the visibility of ANR's mission, research and educational programs that affect the lives of all Californians
- Ensure an inclusive approach to design and programming that welcomes all members of the ANR community, as well as outside researchers and stakeholders
- Support the core mission of ANR by ensuring the campus has a full suite of properly-sized and flexibly programmed facilities and spaces
- Capitalize on the opportunity to tell ANR's story both to the University of California community and outside stakeholders
- Promote community health and wellness in every aspect of site design and facility programming
- Reflect the natural California landscape through appropriate site design and landscaping
“This project reflects many of those goals by demonstrating that everything ANR does, even building a parking lot, can include research and extension opportunities,” Corlett said. “The City of Davis is very supportive of this effort, and we expect that it will draw many visitors each year.”
The project broke ground Sept. 5 and is expected to be completed in November.