Time to consider drought tolerance of plants (Google / Maple Ridge News)

Read at : Google Alerts – drought-tolerant plants

http://www.mapleridgenews.com/lifestyles/210491321.html

Drought tolerant plants need time

By Mike Lascelle – Maple Ridge News

Plants are a lot like people in that they have different tolerances for hot and cold.

While most of us tend to focus on the hardiness zone when purchasing shrubs, this number is really just an expression of the lowest temperature a plant can endure without perishing – it is not an indication of resilience.

Drought tolerance may not seem like an attribute that coastal gardeners need worry about, but once the rain clouds clear those sloped or tiered gardens begin to dry out quickly, and few of us have irrigation systems or the time to hand water.

The other factor that comes into play here is that, sooner or later, summer water restrictions are going to extend to all parts of our gardens (not just the lawns) or the cost of metered water is going to be so prohibitive that our shrubs are just going to have to fend for themselves.

If you have ever seen a drought stressed rhododendron, pieris or Nishiki willow, you know it’s not a pretty sight, and it can take months for them to recover, during which time your garden looks like crap.

So maybe it is time for us to consider drought tolerance, at least for the plants that we use on slopes or in gravelly, porous soils.

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About Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.
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