- Author: Tammy Majcherek
This article from the Sacramento Bee sums up the UC Davis Arboretum All Stars program nicely. Read on about the criteria that is used in selecting the top 100 plants for California landscapes which use less water and require less maintenance.
The inserted photos are just a few of the species being evaluated by UCCE Master Gardeners here in Orange County at the South Coast Research and Extension Center.
UCD Arboretum All Stars
By April Vail Fri, May 06, 2011 Sacramento Bee
One of the toughest hurdles in planting a garden is selecting just what to plant. Finding plants that will look good AND thrive in your garden can sometimes be tricky as environmental factors such as sun exposure, rainfall, soil type, and seasonal freezes have a profound effect on how plants will perform in your garden.
Fortunately the UC Davis Arboretum, in partnership with the California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH), aims to simplify the selection process with their Arboretum All-Stars list. Drawing from the Arboretum’s vast pool of plants collected over the last 75 years and the experiences of horticultural staff, the All-Stars list identifies the top 100 performers for California gardens. These plants have been selected for their beauty and ability to prosper in California’s Mediterranean climate (characterized by hot, dry summers and winter rainy seasons).
The Arboretum All-Star Program started in 2004 when Ellen Zagory, Director of Horticulture at the Arboretum, and a colleague, Diane Cary, came up with the idea as a way to promote plants that are attractive, drought tolerant, require little maintenance, and will grow easily in our climate.
Those All-Star characteristics help the gardener save time by requiring less maintenance and save money by requiring fewer inputs of water, pesticides, and fertilizers. Those same characteristics also help the environment by reducing pollution, conserving water, and attracting beneficial wildlife. Through grants, a partnership with the CCUH, and the aid of volunteers, the Arboretum All-Stars Project gained footing.
“The All-Stars were selected by five horticulturalists from the UC Davis Arboretum.” Ellen explained. Each plant had to meet specific criteria. 1) They had to look attractive through most of the year. 2) They had to grow well in our Mediterranean climate. 3) They also had to be test in the Arboretum. Based on their experiences each horticulturalist listed their top plants and rated them in categories such as “low maintenance”, “drought tolerant”, and “attracts beneficial wildlife. The top 100 ranked plants became the Arboretum All-Stars.
Several Arboretum All-Stars plants have undergone extensive field testing to determine how they would perform under four different levels of irrigation. These tests helped determine what watering regiments the plants responded to best. To test the All-Star plants under a variety of California climates, 14 Master Gardeners from various regions of the state have volunteered to grow and document the growth of these plants in their demonstration gardens. These tests are ongoing.
The Arboretum All-Star plants are available for viewing in several gardens throughout the 100 acre UC Davis Arboretum and also in All-Stars demonstration beds at their Teaching Garden site. A searchable listing of the Arboretum All-Stars is available on the UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars website .
For more information visit:
UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars website
or, California Center for Urban Horticulture