Interdisciplinary graduate degrees are becoming increasingly popular, filling both employer needs as well as student goals. The Plants and Soils Department at Utah State University offers an interdisciplinary master of professional studies in horticulture (MPSH) degree program specializing in urban landscape water conservation. The MPSH is a one calendar year degree consisting of a small group cohort with a strong emphasis on communication and policy development geared toward creating and managing water conservation programs. Core to this model is what personality type is drawn to an MPSH degree compared to the traditional, research-based master of science degree. We are comparing the personality types of 16 students in the MPSH to 15 students in, or having completed, the traditional MS degree program by using the Myers-Briggs test (MBTI), Strong Interest Inventory (SII) test, and key informant surveys. Basic MBTI personality categories in extroversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving are being evaluated by comparison in contrast as well as consistency across the two degree types. Key informant surveys quizzed individual preference regarding the two degrees. Preliminary inspection of survey, MBTI and SII results indicate a definite link between type of graduate program and basic personality trait. Students in or having completed the traditional MS degree program that indicated a preference for the MPSH degree shared the same personality types as those in the MSPH program. These preliminary results suggest that an interdisciplinary professional degree in horticulture focused on a particular topic can appeal to horticultural undergraduates that might not otherwise consider a graduate degree.
Stefan Sutherin, Kevin Lombard, and Rolston St. Hilaire
information statewide, NMSU established the Center for Landscape Water Conservation (2013) , a web-based clearing house focused on urban landscape plants and water conservation. The center saw the evolution of mobile apps as another avenue for disseminating
Laura A. Warner, Anil Kumar Chaudhary, and Sebastian Galindo-Gonzalez
proceeding level. For example, participants must experience positive reactions to a program to achieve gains in knowledge or skills. Fig. 1. Hierarchy of landscape water conservation program outcomes among Florida extension participants ( Rockwell and Bennett
Shane R. Evans, Kelly Kopp, Paul G. Johnson, Bryan G. Hopkins, Xin Dai, and Candace Schaible
Recent advances in irrigation technologies have led many states to incentivize homeowners to purchase United States Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense-labeled, smart irrigation controllers. However, previous research of smart controllers has shown that their use may still result in excess water application when compared with controllers manually programmed to replace actual water loss. This study compared kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) irrigation applications using three smart irrigation controllers, a conventional irrigation controller programmed according to Cooperative Extension recommendations, and the average irrigation rate of area homeowners in Utah during 2018 and 2019. Of all the controllers tested, the manually programmed controller applied water at amounts closest to the actual evapotranspiration rates; however, smart controllers applied from 30% to 63% less water than area homeowners, depending on the controller and year of the study. Kentucky bluegrass health and quality indicators—percent green cover and normalized difference vegetation indices—varied between years of the study and were lower than acceptable levels on several occasions in 2019 for three of the four controllers tested. Compared with the results of similar studies, these findings suggest that the effects of smart irrigation controllers on turfgrass health and quality may vary by location and over time.
Landry Lockett, Thayne Montague, Cynthia McKenney, and Dick Auld
A survey instrument was designed to determine public opinion on water conservation, water conserving landscapes, the use of native plants in landscapes, home irrigation systems, and the performance of five Texas native plant species [pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa); prairie verbena (Verbena bipinnatifida); red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora); ceniza (Leucophyllum frutescens); and ruellia (Ruellia nudiflora)] grown in low water use landscapes in the semiarid Southwestern United States. On six occasions during the 1999 growing season, participants viewed landscapes and participated in a survey. Survey data indicate that over 90% of respondents thought water conservation was important to the state of Texas. A majority of participants however, believed water conserving landscapes to be expensive to maintain and not aesthetically pleasing. The survey revealed 79% of participants would use native plants if native plants conserved water, and 86% of participants would use native plants if native plants were attractive. Chi-square approximations revealed participant's opinions regarding water conservation and home irrigation systems were influenced by education level and amount of time they participated in weekly horticulture activities. In an open-ended question, participants indicated flowers and healthy leaves were characteristics indicating a plant was performing well. Throughout the year, species in flower received higher ratings than nonflowering species.
Tim R. Pannkuk
for water will take an increasing precedence in municipal water management ( Moss et al., 2013 ). Landscape water conservation methods and techniques using new technology or science-based principles will continue to contribute to managing water
Roger Kjelgren and Larry Rupp
As populations become increasingly urbanized, landscape water conservation becomes more important. Landscape water consumption can increase municipal water use up to 4-fold during the growing season, and account for half the total yearly water use. Landscape water conservation is important in decreasing peak summer water demand to reduce the strain on delivery systems, and to reduce total demand so that development of new sources can be forestalled. Potential water savings from existing landscapes can be estimated by comparing historical usage gleaned from water meter readings to plant water needs estimated from reference evapotranspiration. Estimating water needs for turf is straightforward because of the few species involved and the uniformity of turf landscapes. Estimating water needs of woody plants is more difficult because of the heterogeneity of woody plants and how they are used, and woody plants respond to evaporative demand differently than turfgrass. Many woody plants will actually use less water as reference evapotranspiration increases due to stomatal closure induced by high leaf-air vapor pressure gradients. Landscape water is then conserved by either applying water more effectively in scheduling when and how long to irrigate based on estimating water use again from reference evapotranspiration, or by replacing areas in turfgrass with plants more-adapted to the existing conditions. Encouraging water conservation by end users is the final and largest challenge. Automated irrigation systems makes wasting water easy, while conserving water takes more effort. Education is the key to successful landscape water conservation.
Dennis R. Pittenger, David A. Shaw, and William E. Richie
We conducted an evaluation of three commercial weather-sensing irrigation controllers to determine the climatic data they use, how easy they are to set up and operate, and how closely their irrigation regimes match landscape irrigation needs established by previous field research. The devices virtually controlled an existing reference irrigation system and used its system performance data as required in their initial setup. Reference standard treatments for cool-season turfgrass, trees/shrubs and annual flowers were calculated using onsite, real-time reference evapotranspiration (ETo) data and plant factors developed primarily from previous research. The reference irrigation system applied the correct amount of water to an actual tall fescue turfgrass planting whose water needs served as the reference standard treatment comparison for the cool-season turfgrass treatment. Virtual applied water was recorded for other plant materials and it was compared to the corresponding calculated reference standard amount. Results show each controller adjusted its irrigation schedules through the year roughly in concert with weather and ETo changes, but the magnitudes of adjustments were not consistently in proportion to changes in ETo. No product produced highly accurate irrigation schedules consistently for every landscape setting when compared to research-based reference comparison treatments. Greater complexity and technicality of required setup information did not always result in more accurate, water-conserving irrigation schedules. Use of a weather-sensing controller does not assure landscape water conservation or acceptable landscape plant performance, and it does not eliminate human interaction in landscape irrigation management.
Laura A. Warner, Amanda D. Ali, and Anil Kumar Chaudhary
There are substantial opportunities for residents to conserve and protect water through irrigation and fertilizer best practices without sacrificing landscape quality. Promoting the adoption of practices and technologies to address water quality and quantity issues is one of the most important contributions extension can make to solving complex water problems. Extension needs to use innovative approaches to encourage adoption of landscape water conservation practices and technologies, and one underused behavior change strategy is social marketing. Social marketing can help extension encourage behavior change by positioning desired behaviors in terms of value to clientele. This study examined the relationship between the benefits people believe their home landscape provides and their engagement in good irrigation and fertilization practices. Aesthetics is the most valued landscape benefit but it is not strongly influential on good irrigation or fertilization practices. Individuals who perceive their landscape offers habitat benefits are most likely to engage in good irrigation practices, whereas individuals who believe their landscape provides environmental benefits are most likely to engage in good fertilization practices. People who believe their landscape offers monetary benefits are least likely to engage in good irrigation and good fertilizer practices. Extension professionals should develop programs that relate fertilization best practices to environmental benefits and irrigation best management practices to habitat benefits while emphasizing that landscape management best practices are compatible with landscape aesthetics.
Roger Kjelgren and Larry Rupp
We developed two courses, sustainable landscaping and landscape water conservation, to meet time-constrained students on campus and place-bound students off campus. Lecture material consisting of text, slides, drawings, and some video were assembled digitally using presentation software. Each course was broken into nine to10 units by topic matter, and each unit consisted of 50 to 100 individual “slides” containing visuals, text, and audio narration. The lecture material was then packaged for student consumption onto videotape and CD-ROM, and on the Web (without audio) and as hard copy. Students taking the course received a course reader of the lecture material in hard copy and CD format. Contact with the instructor was through e-mail and a threaded newsgroup on the Web. All testing was with take-home quizzes and an exam. These courses had 700 to 800 slides averaging 1 min of narration per slide, equaling 12 to 14 h of audio. Assembly time for 1 h of narration, or about 60 slides, was 20 to 30 h. These courses are taught live in a classroom, where the presentation time is doubled compared to audio narration, alternate years, and have been available every term on an arranged basis. Survey results of 40 students to date taking the course on an arranged basis, obtaining lecture material mainly through CD-ROM, showed that by a 6:1 margin, their learning experience was overall positive. However, by a 19:1 margin, students would have preferred to have taken the course with live classroom instruction. Developing digital courses such as these is only feasible if a faculty member has unequivocal and ample administrative and financial support, and is only cost-effective if there is sufficient student demand outside of conventional scheduling.