Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate


Heidi A. Kratsch


Sustainable landscaping includes utilization of plants requiring few inputs. We chose four species showing potential for use in arid landscapes: Purshia mexicana, Shepherdia argentea, Shepherdia rotundifolia, and Alnus maritima. We sowed seeds of S. rotundifolia, S. argentea and P. mexicana in three substrates with various water-holding properties due to differing amounts of organic matter (OM). S. rotundifolia germination was maximized in a calcined clay (66.2%) containing no OM and had low germination (12.7 - 21.8%) in the other substrates. S. argentea germination (42.3 to 53.7%) was similar in all substrates. Poor seed quality of P. mexicana resulted in inconclusive results. Our results suggest that germination of some species is enhanced by substrates with excellent drainage properties. We also investigated effects of different rates of controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) on symbiotic nodule formation in seaside alder. We found that lower than prescribed rates of CRF enhanced nodulation without compromising nitrogen status.