COS still offering elective courses for fall

With restrictions on watering and family budgets spread thin, Fernando Fernandez, College of the Sequoias (COS) Ornamental Horticulture faculty member, is offering a Xeriscape: Water Conservation course this fall on cost-effective, low-water techniques to beautify outdoor spaces. Xeriscape is a set of landscaping principles to design and maintain attractive landscaping while minimizing water use, ideal for combating the water restrictions faced by residents because of the California drought, explained Fernandez.

“Your garden is an extension of your indoor space,” said Fernandez. “You can enjoy your yard more by applying xeriscape techniques. People are often surprised that there are hundreds of attractive plants, way beyond cactus, that don’t require much water.”

Homeowners, landscapers, property managers and horticulture students would benefit from the xeriscape class that combines lecture and hands-on labs. It is offered on Monday and Wednesday from 1:10 to 3 p.m. starting August 17 through December 17 at the Tulare College Center campus in Tulare. If you aren’t a current COS student, it is easy to apply in time to register for this class; just go to www.cos.edu to get started. You can apply and register for the class online; there are no prerequisites or assessments required. Find the Xeriscape: Water Conservation (OH-218) course under Ornamental Horticulture. Though classes started August 17, those interested in adding a late class can do so by way of an add code issued by the instructor on the first day.

The ornamental horticulture course will cover practical material that students can apply immediately at home. “Students learn how to conduct a water audit,” said Fernandez. “This opens their eyes to how much water is wasted. They learn how to repair and adjust their system to maximize conservation and more easily comply with water restrictions imposed due to the drought.”

According to Fernandez, houses can increase in value up to 25% with attractive, low maintenance landscaping that tolerates minimal watering. “Techniques such as properly amending the soil when you replace or add new plants, not only increases survival rates but helps the plants become established and grow more quickly,” said Fernandez. “In lab activities, as well as a class project to convert a small part of the College of Sequoias’ landscaping, students will gain first-hand experience in how to use xeriscape to spruce up their yards and increase the value of their homes.”

Xeriscape: Water Conservation is just one of many ornamental horticulture and agriculture courses available at College of the Sequoias that can upgrade your skills, prepare you for a career or increase your knowledge. Like this course on water-wise landscaping, what you learn at College of the Sequoias can benefit you in making a difference for your family and our community.

Fernandez has been an ornamental horticultural faculty member at the College of the Sequoias since 2004. His landscaping industry experience includes irrigation design and installation, landscape management, turf grass installation and management, and soil preparation and testing. In addition, Fernandez serves as the Division Chair for the Agriculture Division at COS, collaborates with agriculture teachers at the local high school agriculture programs and is involved with the Beyond the Farm Program sponsored by the Tulare County Farm Bureau. He earned his B.S. in horticulture/plant science and M.S. in horticulture/plant science: soils and irrigation at California State University (CSU) Fresno. He also holds a single subject teaching credential in agriculture and a specialist in agriculture teaching credential from CSU, Fresno.

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