Orange County Nursery donates 300 plants for Irrigation Field Trials at two UC campuses

By on December 4, 2017

Village Nurseries – founded in 1976 and serving the re-wholesale, retail and landscape contractor markets throughout the western United States – has donated 300 plants to the University of California Landscape Plant Irrigation Trials to help determine water needs for landscape plants. The trials are part of meeting California’s mandatory landscape ordinances for water conservation.

Two trial locations have been established – one at the University of California (UC) Davis and the other at the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine. Researchers at both locations will work to develop information on water use of landscape plants in both locations.

Lorence R. Oki, Ph.D., UC Davis CE specialist, Environmental Horticulture and co-director, UC Nursery & Floriculture Alliance, commented, “These trials were initiated to develop information of landscape plant water use under experimental conditions and to fill a void of information on urban water conservation regarding how to irrigate landscape plants. With recurring drought in California, this information can be used to develop specific and detailed irrigation programs. We install the plants in the fall, and allow them to become established during the following year on regular irrigation. In the second summer after planting, the plants are exposed to different irrigation treatments. Each month during the second year the plants are measured for growth and evaluated for quality. The evaluations and measurements end at the end of the second year are used to determine the irrigation recommendations for each plant.”

Dr. Oki and UC Davis horticulturists are evaluating the plants donated by Village Nurseries for their potential as good performers in low-water-use gardens. When the research studies are completed the low-water-use plants will help growers and breeders evaluate new plant varieties in California gardens with the goal of successfully distributing and marketing these plants to the public.

“Village Nurseries has always been about providing the very best plants to landscape architects, designers and contractors,” explained Nicholas Staddon, Village Nurseries plantsman, “so whenever we have an opportunity to get involved in a fully-fledged trial and evaluation program, we’ll be there. It’s not just about the end result; it’s also about observing the plants throughout the trial period. The University offers regular dates where the design community and other interested parties can examine how the plants are faring in the field.”

Staddon added, “Our goal is to bring the very best landscape plants suited for the region. Working with the University of California will greatly aid in making this happen.”

The varieties donated for the UC Plant Trials include Cotoneaster d. ‘Coral Beauty’; Cotoneaster d. ‘Lowfast’; Rhaphiolepis umbellata ‘RutRhaph1’ PP# 20730 Southern Moon®; Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Irvine’ Plumetastic®; Rosa ‘Meiradena’ Icecap™; and Acacia cognata ‘ACCOG01’ Cousin Itt.

The principal investigator of the project is Karrie Reid, UC Cooperative Extension Environmental Horticulture advisor in San Joaquin County. She will be assisted by Project Manager Jared Sisneroz. Dr. Darren Haver and Grant Johnson are the project collaborators at the Irvine facility. Information on the trials is posted online at http://ccuh.ucdavis.edu/Resources/plant-trials.