August 13, 2022
Study: How plants for dry places respond to drought and rainfall
PALM SPRINGS - (INT) - A new UC Riverside study shows it’s not how much extra water you give your plants, but when you give it that counts.

This is especially true near Palm Springs, where the research team created artificial rainfall to examine the effects on plants over the course of two years. This region has both winter and summer growing seasons, both of which are increasingly impacted by drought and, occasionally, extreme rain events.

Normally, some desert wildflowers and grasses begin growing in December, and are dead by June.

“We wanted to understand whether one season is more sensitive to climate change than another,” said Marko Spasojevic, UCR plant ecologist and lead study author. “If we see an increase or decrease in summer rains, or winter rains, how does that affect the ecosystem?”

The team observed that in summer, plants grow more when given extra water, in addition to any natural rainfall. However, the same was not true in winter.

“Essentially, adding water in summer gets us more bang for our buck,” Spasojevic said.
Story Date: May 16, 2022
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