Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Plants, Soils, and Climate
Water shortages are a recurring problem in the western US. As much as 70% of yearly municipal water consumption may be used to irrigate urban landscapes. Significant water savings can be realized by installing low water landscapes, where turfgrass is replaced by low water trees, shrubs, grasses, and perennials. Intermountain West (IMW) native trees and shrubs are excellent candidates for low water landscaping. However, due to their slow initial growth, many native trees and shrubs are simply unavailable to consumers, as they are not cost effective for nursery growers to produce. In an effort to accelerate the yearly growth rates of two IMW native species, Pinus monophylla and Mahonia fremontii, the potential of two growing methods was evaluated. A 30% reduction in radiation by shading and stabilizing root-zone temperatures with potin- pot were employed in an effort to decrease the extreme environmental impacts of temperature and intense sunlight. Shading caused a significant increase in the growth of M. fremontii when grown aboveground. P. monophylla growth was not affected by the use of shade. Neither species showed improved growth when grown pot-in-pot. The use of shade is effective in accelerating some native plants and not others. However, for plants such as M. fremontii, shading is beneficial and can be used to significantly accelerate nursery production.
Miller, Sam A., "Accelerating Production of Slow-Growing Intermountain West Native Plants by Modifying Their microclimate" (2011). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 1108.
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