TR-495 The Drought Survivability Study

Authors: A. Truong, R. White, F. Cobb, R. Lopez

Water is a major limiting factor for maintaining the aesthetic performance of ornamental plants. The public uses various sources of information to determine the watering needs of Central Texas plants, from use of peer-reviewed articles to qualitative assessments of plant performance. Given the wide-ranging application of water to Central Texas landscapes, establishing the watering needs of native and commercially available plants, especially during drought-prone periods, would be beneficial in an environment such as Central Texas. This study exposed popular ornamental plant species to water-limiting conditions and recorded plant stress under those conditions. This information should allow consumers to choose landscape species that are best suited to their watering preferences and aesthetic needs. Proper plant selection based on watering requirements and consumer preferences or landscaping goals would facilitate greater water savings for the region. The Drought Survivability Study (DSS), initiated by the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) and Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI), sought to contribute to an ongoing discussion on the water needs of Central Texas landscapes.