Green Topics

HortScience, Inc. is committed to providing advice and services to promote healthy, sustainable, and attractive landscapes. We help our clients select plants that are well-suited to the site and manage them to enhance and protect environmental quality and conserve our natural resources. Key service areas include:

Tree preservation and resource conservation

Environmentally friendly landscaping

Evaluation of the use of recycled and desalinated water for irrigation

Water conservation and management

Quantifying the environmental benefits of trees

 

Tree preservation and resource conservation


Both trees that are preserved and those that are planted are important components of environmentally responsible, green developments. We can help identify ways to create sustainable landscapes in keeping with LEED standards and the Sustainable Sites Initiative.

 

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 Environmentally friendly landscaping


Environmentally friendly landscaping focuses on managing healthy landscapes while protecting natural environments and using recycled materials where possible. As examples, we specify use of recycled wood waste for soil amendment, and minimize application of high phosphate and nitrogen fertilizers to landscapes.

 

Under contract with the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (www.stopwaste.org), we developed Model Bay Friendly Landscape Maintenance Specifications. The goal of the Bay Friendly Landscaping effort is to sustain the environmental and biological health of the San Francisco Bay. The specifications describe practices and materials to maintain landscapes in an environmentally sensitive and sustainable manner to conserve natural resources, avoid polluting or degrading land and aquatic areas, protect human and wildlife health, and minimize inputs into the waste stream.

 

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 Recycled and desalinated water for irrigation


As water resources become scarce and urban populations increase, use of recycled water and desalinated water for landscape irrigation is increasing. In most cases, recycled and desalinated water contain higher concentrations of salts than drinking water. Plants are more sensitive than humans to some salts. Regulatory requirements for water quality are aimed at protecting human and wildlife health and may not be adequate to protect sensitive plant species from damage.

 

Since the 1980's, HortScience, Inc. has been evaluating recycled water quality and the effects on landscape plants and soils. We have amassed a wealth of information that we bring to projects to help design and manage landscapes that will be irrigated with recycled or desalinated water, or to convert existing landscapes from irrigation with potable water to recycled or desalinated water. HortScience, Inc. can help you develop a salt management plan in compliance with the state's Recycled Water Policy for the beneficial use of recycled water for landscape irrigation.

 

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 Water conservation and management


 

Water conservation is a key concern for managing landscapes. It not only is necessary for protecting dwindling water resources, but also for maintaining healthy landscapes. We asses plant water needs, evaluate irrigation performance and identify ways to conserve water during landscape irrigation. HortScience, Inc. has been at the forefront of landscape water conservation efforts in California since the 1980's. Principals Nelda Matheny and Jim Clark co-authored with Larry Costello the Landscape Coefficient Method for estimating irrigation needs and participated in preparation of the Water User Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS) that is published by the California Department of Water Resources.

  

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Quantify environmental benefits of trees


Trees that comprise our urban forests provide a range of environmental and economic benefits that make our communities more viable. The question has long been: what is the value of these benefits?

 

Using a tree inventory and cost:benefit analysis software, we are now able to quantify the environmental benefits provided by the urban forest. In addition, we can make projections for how cost:benefits may change over time and manage treatments. This information can help communities demonstrate the monetary value of the urban forest and justify budgets.

 

Another application is to compare the environmental benefits provided by the current vegetation on a site with future benefits of the new landscape. We used this technology to evaluate the benefits that would be derived from planting over 500 trees at Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA. 

 

 

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Our goal is to help you create and manage environmentally healthy, resource efficient, and beautiful landscapes.

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