Water, Irrigation, and Drought

Recycled green waste offers alternative to fertilizer

Doctoral student Valentina Roel is looking at ways to use food scraps and yard waste as alternatives to nitrogen fertilizer for crops. When processed, the leftovers and garden trimmings being diverted from state landfills might be effective substitutes, because they contain both nitrogen and carbon in forms that promote soil health.

They also provide a path for slowing climate change.

Cover crops don’t use much extra water, video explains

Many farmers have been wary of planting cover crops, despite the proven benefits, because they worry the additional vegetation in their fields and orchards would suck up precious water. But a new video explains recent research showing that’s not true: California fields planted with cover crops over the winter have about the same level of soil moisture.

New video features Oki’s research

The nonprofit organization Pacific Horticulture has released a new video describing research to develop irrigation recommendations for landscape plants, the science behind the process, and early ideas for mindful gardeners and landscapers. It features UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences horticulturalist Lorence Oki, the lead investigator on the project.

Drought and herbicides: Rice Field Day showcases research

New varieties of rice that offer more effective weed control with less herbicide were showcased by UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences researchers at the recent Rice Field Day north of Yuba City in California's Central Valley. Amid the West’s ongoing drought, green rice with heads full of grain stood tall and lush in some test plots, while dry, brown stubble poked up in others. Department researchers discussed the impact of letting ricelands go fallow, including potential for pest control and ways to conserve soil moisture.