Rio Grande Basin Initiative

2005-06 Deliverables

Task 5 Research
Principal Investigator(s): Genhua Niu

  1. Evaluate drought tolerance of selected landscape plants. Plant lists categorizing drought tolerance should be based on research data, instead of empirical observations. Relative drought tolerance of selected plants (flowering annuals, herbaceous perennials and a number of shrubs and trees) will be evaluated by growing the plants under various soil moistures. Relationship between plant performance and soil moistures will be examined so that relative drought tolerance will be evaluated.
  2. Determine minimum water requirement of landscape plants. Drought tolerant plants may consume a lot of water under non-limiting conditions. The minimum water use to maintain healthy appearance rather than to maximize plant growth needs to be determined for landscape plants. The minimum water use along with its associated crop coefficient will be determined so that the water use results can be applied at locations other than El Paso, TX, where water use and crop coefficient are estimated. Collaborators for this project are Drs. R. Cabrera, C. McKenney, and W. Mackay, Dallas Research Center.
  3. Evaluate the relative salt tolerance of selected landscape plants. As potable water supply is decreasing, many municipalities encourage use of reclaimed water, which has high salt levels, to irrigate landscape plants. In order to minimize salt injury/damage, salt tolerance for commonly used landscape plants needs to be characterized. The response of selected shrubs and trees to various salt levels of irrigation water and salt accumulation in the soil substrate will be examined and evaluated. Relative tolerance of the tested plants will be characterized and potential salt tolerant species will be recommended.
  4. Information Transfer Activities and Publications. Results will be published through TWRI technical reports and peer reviewed journals, and discussed with local and regional stakeholders for outreach. Oral or poster presentations will be delivered at professional and regional meetings. Appropriate fact sheets/guidelines will be prepared for extension personnel on drought tolerance of tested plant species and their irrigation recommendations.
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