COMPARATIVE STUDY OF WATER ECONOMY OF CONTAINER-GROWN WOODY ORNAMENTAL SHRUBS

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  • 1 Dept. of Agronomy and Resource Sci., Hort. Crops Research Lab., Texas A&I University, Kingsville, Texas 78363.

Relative water usage of four species of container-grown woody ornamental shrubs (Buxus japonica (Japenese boxwood), Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas sage), Ligustrum japonica (ligustrum) and Pittosporum tobira wheeleri (dwarf) pittosporurm)), normally used for home landscaping in south Texas, were evaluated by comparing water consumption and frequency of watering with growth rates and horticultural quality after six months growth in containers. Growth rates were determined by the difference in plant height and leaf area from the control unwatered plants and were used to characterize the suitability of ornamental shrubs for xeric landscapes. While frequency of watering had no significant effects on plant height, only ligustrum and dwarf pittosporum plants watered on weekly basis showed positive change in leaf area. There was considerable leaf regrowth in Texas sage plants after initial leaf loss. Of all the shrubs tested, dwarf pittosporum plants watered biweekly used less water to maintain their horticultural quality.

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