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The 2011 ASHS Annual Conference

Physiological Responses of Ornamental Landscape Plants to Drought

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Kona Ballroom
Kelly Kopp, Dept. of Plants, Soils & Climate, Logan, UT
Heidi A. Kratsch, Cooperative Extension, Utah State Univ, Logan, UT
Tony McCammon, M.S., Payette County, University of Idaho, Payette, ID
Drought responses of three integrated ornamental and turfgrass landscapes were evaluated at the Utah Botanical Center in Kaysville, Utah, USA.  The landscapes were identically designed and differed only in the plant material utilized. Landscapes included mesic plant species, xeric plant species, or a mixture of the two.  Dry-down periods were imposed during the summers of 2005 and 2006.  Plant quality ratings, stomatal conductance, and turfgrass canopy temperatures were measured.  Stomatal conductance was significantly different across landscapes, plants, and time.  Stomatal conductance of plants in the Xeric landscapes was significantly higher than the Mesic or Mixed landscapes over the course of the dry-downs, however, plant quality in these landscapes did not suffer as a result.  Overall, the Mixed landscape, containing both mesic and xeric species, exhibited the fewest visual signs of drought stress, as well as moderate levels of stomatal conductance.  Additionally, the Mixed landscape had the lowest turfgrass canopy temperatures, indicating that its turfgrass was the least stressed of the turf species utilized in the study.  The improved drought response of the Mixed landscape may provide the basis for management recommendations regarding landscape water conservation.