Hero Image

Climate Ready Plant Trials

Landscapes provide many economic, ecological, psychological, health, and social benefits to humans. The Western U.S.  faces an uncertain future regarding access to water and regionally-adapted,  low water-use plant material is a critical component in a successful response to climate change in urban landscapes. In 2020, UCLPIT researchers obtained funding from CDFA via the USDA Specialty Crops Multistate Program to create a region-wide Western U. S. plant trials program. Researchers at UC Davis and UC ANR have worked with researchers in Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and Utah to construct four new trial sites spanning a wide variety of Western climates.

This project will evaluate new and recently introduced landscape plants in a two-year trial, with plants being subjected to deficit irrigation treatments in their second year. New plant cultivars developed by Dr. Contreras at Oregon State University are also evaluated to determine their ability to thrive across this broad western region. COVID permitting, we hope to hold open houses at each of the sites in 2022, inviting horticulture and landscape professionals and local Master Gardeners to evaluate plant performance in response to the irrigation treatments.

The Climate Ready Plant Trials Research Team*

Arizona - University of Arizona, Tucson

  • Ursula Schuch, Ph.D., Extension Specialist and Professor, School of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona
  • Jeffery Gilbert

California - South Coast REC, Irvine & UC Davis, Davis

  • Darren Haver, Ph.D., Water Resources Advisor, Director of UCCE Orange & South Coast REC, Assistant Vice Provost of REC System
  • Loren Oki, Ph.D, CE Specialist, Environmental Horticulture, UC Davis, Co-Director, UC Nursery & Floriculture Alliance
  • Karrie Reid, Environmental Horticulture Advisor, UCCE San Joaquin County
  • Alessandro Ossola
  • Jared Sisneroz

Oregon - Northwest Willamette REC, Aurora

  • Lloyd Nackley, Ph.D., Nursery Researcher, Oregon State University
  • Ryan Contreras, Ph.D., Professor, Ornamental Plant Breeding, Oregon State University
  • Tyler Hoskins
  • Raven Michelle
  • Rebecca Sheridan

Washington - University of Washington, Seattle

  • Soo-Hyung Kim, Ph.D., Professor, Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington
  • Allison Fron
  • Arthur Hsu
  • M Stuke

Utah - Utah State University, Logan

  • Youping Sun, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Landscape Horticulture, Utah State University
  • Larry Rupp, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist, Utah State University
  • JJ Chen

Advisory Committee members include:

  • David Fujino, California Center for Urban Horticulture
  • Raymond Larson, University of Washington Botanic Gardens
  • Nicholas Staddon, Everde Growers

*Principal Investigators are indicated in bold type.

Additional Resources

Article: Climate-Ready Plant Trials Underway at UWBG by Clare McLean