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Weighing Water Use in Gardens

Articles: Weighing Water Use in Gardens

An inviting vignette in the water-wise garden of Mary and Lew Reid. Photo: Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic.com

Spend much time chatting with California landscape designers or working horticulturists and you’re bound to hear repeated references to WUCOLS [“woo-coals”], an acronym that stands for Water Use Classification of Landscape Species. The project, initiated by the Water Use Efficiency Office of the California Department of Water, was developed in response to the relative lack of research-based information classifying plants by irrigation need. The first edition, completed in 1992, compiled field trial results and observations contributed by regional evaluation committees made up of knowledgeable horticulturists from throughout California. Now in its fourth edition, WUCOLS IV evaluates water use needs for more than 3,500 commonly available California landscape plants. The information-rich database is freely available online and is intended to serve as a reliable resource for anyone involved with planning, designing, and managing landscapes.

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