News & Updates

August 5, 2016

Bay-Friendly Lead Trainer, Jennifer de Graaf, on “Drought-Tolerant”

Here in California, we frequently use the term, “drought-tolerant” to refer to plants that are supposedly low water use. But what does “drought-tolerant” mean? Is a “drought-tolerant” plant actually happy in a drought? Our lead trainer for the Bay-Friendly Qualified Professional training program, Jennifer de Graaf, dissects this term using WUCOLS and water use classifications, tools that are more useful than just looking for the term “drought-tolerant” when selecting plant materials.

“…so when we say a plant is drought tolerant, what the heck does that mean?  It means that plant has some degree of adaptability to drought.  But here’s the thing – how much adaptability?  How do I use this information?  What does this plant do in response?… Tolerance is about not being dead yet – it has nothing to do with living well, being healthy, or looking good, it is about living to drink another day.”

-Jennifer de Graaf, de Graaf Design Associates

Read more of Jennifer’s analysis of the term,”drought-tolerant” and how to select plants that are low-water use in your region.



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