Rio Grande Basin Initiative

2006-07 Deliverables

Task 5 Research
Principal Investigator(s): Genhua Niu

We mutually agree for Genhua Niu to deliver the following during the period of July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007, using funds from the Rio Grande Basin Initiative:

  1. Evaluate the relative salt tolerance of selected herbaceous perennials, groundcovers, shrubs and trees. 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 plants to various salt levels of irrigation water and salt accumulation in the soil substrate will be examined and evaluated under field conditions. Relative tolerance of the tested plants will be characterized and potential salt tolerant species will be recommended.
  2. Determine minimum water requirement of landscape plants. In order to improve irrigation efficiency, the actual water requirement to maintain healthy appearance needs to be determined for landscape plants. The actual water use along with its associated crop coefficient will be determined and compared for container-grown and lysimiter-grown plants (a simulation of landscape conditions). The information developed from this study can be applied at locations other than El Paso, TX. Collaborators for this project are Drs. R. Cabrera, C. McKenney, and W. Mackay, Dallas Research Center.
  3. 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 (four cultivars of oleander and a number of flowering herbaceous plants) will be evaluated by growing the plants under various soil moisture conditions. Plant performance and physiological response to drought stress will be evaluated so that relative drought tolerance will be determined.
  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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