SHRE Proposals funded for 2020-2021
#1 Expanding user-friendly access to research-based information on actual plant water needs for climate-appropriate landscapes
Karrie Reid, Environmental Horticulture Advisor, San Joaquin County Cooperative Extension
Lorence Oki, Specialist in Cooperative Extension, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences
Darren Haver, Assistant Vice Provost of UCANR Research and Extension Center System, UC South Coast Research and Extension Center Director
Jared Sisneroz, Junior Specialist, UC Davis
In California there is an increasing demand for information on how to grow low water-use, climate-appropriate landscape ornamentals. Accessible and reliable irrigation and cultivation recommendations are fundamental to successful adoption of low water-use landscape plants. We have been evaluating landscape plants in ongoing irrigation research trials since 2006 (thanks in no small part to SHRE) and have a trove of useful information on the water use and cultivation requirements of over 160 plants in sun and shade, and since 2017, in both southern and northern California. We recently created a website to make the resulting information accessible to the public but adding content to a website is a time-consuming endeavor, and there is much helpful information we could add to enhance value for the user with the help of a trained hire.
We are requesting funds to 1) Expand our newly created website with detailed information and photo-documentation from our trials, and 2) Consult a university statistician to review our methodology and analysis and make suggestions for accurately comparing our research-based recommendations to current Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS) published recommendations.
#2 Introduction and Testing of Texas Trees in Sacramento Valley Landscapes - Year 2
Emily Griswold, Director of GATEways Horticulture and Teaching Gardens, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden
Abbey Hart, Nursery Special Projects Manager, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden
With support from the Saratoga Horticultural Research Endowment, we propose to continue the second year of a multi-year project to introduce and test new trees from arid zones in west and central Texas in Sacramento Valley landscapes. There is a pressing need to expand the palette of climate-ready trees available for California’s urban landscapes in the Central Valley, which is predicted to shift to more desert-like climate conditions by the end of the 21st century. In the first year of our project, with the support of the SHRE, we collected and propagated seeds from more than 30 tree taxa from west and central Texas. For the second year of the project, we will focus on growing out our expanding stock of over 500 of these trees for future research plantings. We will install our first field trials in the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden and carry out thorough field monitoring. Finally, we will launch an informational website to share our preliminary research and results with horticultural professionals and the public. These are the critical next steps to carrying out the research necessary to ensure the success of new introductions that will increase the diversity and resilience of our community’s trees.
#3 Experimental investigation of the effects of a green roof environment on plant vigor and floral display in California grassland plants
Haven Kiers, Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture & Environmental Design, UC Davis
David Fujino, Executive Director for the California Center for Urban Horticulture, UC Davis
Designing green roofs to mimic local native habitats can extend the area available for native species to colonize in urban areas and promote gains in biodiversity. Here, we propose to install a modular green roof to trial untested native grassland plants for their adaptability to this novel environment. Since California grassland species have rarely been utilized on green roofs, the goal of the trial is to develop a diverse list of recommended grassland plants for green roof culture. Our general research questions include 1) Are grassland plants suitable for green roofs? 2) How does the green roof environment influence the growth and aesthetics of grassland plants? Our outreach goals include 1) engaging future horticultural leaders in an internship program to design, construct and maintain the green roof experiment, and 2) enabling the horticultural industry to better position California grassland plants as suitable for use on green roofs. To achieve these goals, we will construct a green roof comprised of 10 pre-planted modules with a mixture of grassland species in each on an irrigation control shed at the “SmartLandscape” site at UC Davis. Plant species will be monitored for water usage, survival, phenology, floral display, and overall aesthetics.