UC Davis’ Urban Horticulture Center Receives Donation to Help Develop Water-Conserving Landscapes

By on May 25, 2019

The University of California, Davis’ California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH) recently received an undisclosed donation from TreeTown USA to help develop water-conserving landscapes under its SmartLandscape Initiative. TreeTown USA is a privately-owned business headquartered in Houston with 18 growing facilities totaling over 6,000 production acres across Texas, Florida, Oregon, and California. The CCUH partners with academia, industry, and public agencies to provide management strategies and practices for conserving water and improving water efficiency for the public, the horticulture and landscape design industry, and local and state agencies.

David Fujino, Ph.D., executive director at UC Davis’ CCUH indicated that there is great potential for reducing water waste while creating beautiful landscapes. As a hub for research, teaching, and outreach, SmartLandscape can help bridge the gap between the knowledge of waste water reduction and making this vision a reality.

“Students will be at the forefront of SmartLandscape,” noted Fujino. “Working alongside horticultural experts and faculty, students will gain valuable hands-on experience that will prepare them to enter the horticulture industry as leaders in resource conservation and sustainable urban landscapes. We are pleased to have TreeTown USA as one of our SmartLandscape partners, educating students on climate-appropriate plants for low-water-use landscapes in California.”

SmartLandscape is a collaborative initiative between CCUH, Western Center for Agricultural Equipment and SmartFarm working with over twenty horticultural industry professional companies and organizations. SmartLandscape is designed to:

  • Demonstrate how water conservation and efficient landscapes work with the latest irrigation technology
  • Connect industry professionals with academic researchers and students
  • Conduct science-based research
  • Leverage cutting-edge technology (robotics, UAVs, imaging, etc.), and
  • Provide policymakers with landscape water conservation and water efficiency information.

SmartLandscape will utilize state-of-the-art technology by combining low water-use plants with the latest available irrigation technology, including: smart irrigation controllers and nozzles, drip irrigation, thermal cameras, soil moisture sensors and drones. This comprehensive horticultural innovation center will be an educational tool for all stakeholders focusing on measuring and monitoring water use data and reducing urban landscape water waste.

TreeTown is also looking forward to participating in the SmartLandscape Initiative. Mark Marriott, senior vice president for TreeTown USA’s Northwest Operations, commented on the occasion saying, “TreeTown USA appreciates this opportunity to help sponsor the SmartLandscape Initiative at the University of California, Davis. The donation is in keeping with our overarching mission to provide the very best plants to landscape architects, designers, and contractors. Whenever we have an opportunity to get involved in demonstrating water conservation and efficient landscapes within a public/private partnership, we want to participate. Plus, we get to see how our plants perform in that environment through the prism of academic researchers and students who are an essential part of the horticulture ecosystem.”

CCUH and its partners host a number of workshops and programs including:

  • University of California Nursery and Floriculture Alliance (UCNFA) — Formerly known as California Ornamental Research Federation (CORF), UCNFA is the University of California’s educational outreach and support program to the floriculture and production nursery industry.
  • Foundation Plant Services (FPS) — Every year, FPS and CCUH partner to bring Rose Days, a weekend-long event focusing on one of the most beloved cultivated plants. The 10th Annual Rose Days was held in 2017.
  • UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology – In partnership with Häagen-Dazs® and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology to support honey bee populations through educational outreach. CCUH coordinated the design and installation of the Honey Bee Haven demonstration garden and Campus Buzzway walkway.

For additional information on CCUH and the SmartLandscape Initiative at UC Davis go to: https://ccuh.sf.ucdavis.edu/SmartLandscape.