Maintenance Information

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Water Conservation in the Garden

A Dry Winter on the San Francisco Peninsula

I went out to a job the other day to consult. The job was installed last year.  It was obvious that the irrigation was turned off and that the plants were stressed and some were even on the verge of dying.
Kind of an unusual problem to have in the middle of winter!

Well folks turn back on the irrigation because it hasn't rained in 2 months.  Especially at risk are plants under overhangs and on the south and west sides of the home.

Looks like we are going into a drought cycle so here are a few tips for saving water in the landscape.

- Use a thick mulch layer around plants to retain moisture. Be sure and pull mulch away from the plant crowns.

- Established shrubs don't need much water. Soak deeply twice a week in the warm weather.

- Lawns are shallowly rooted. Water 3 times a week for 10-12 minutes.
Longer times aren't usually needed.

- Water in the early mornings to avoid evaporation and for the water to soak in.

- Pots need to be watered very often. Consider skipping using potted plants in the drought or planting existing potted plants in the garden. (without the pot)

- Replace lawns with mulch and low water requiring plants like those
shown here. Even replacing a percentage of the lawn will help with water conservation and
will be healthier for the environment. Lawn uses tons of water,
needs a lot of care and is not very interactive with the environment.

- Avoid annuals and moisture loving, shallowly rooted plants during the
drought. Use scarce water resources to maintain the trees and shrubs in your garden.
Be sure and aid trees by giving deep watering twice per month in
the warm seasons. Percolate the water out through a slow running hose in 5-6 locations
below the drip line (edge of the foliage) of the trees.
Even the native trees are looking stressed the last few years. 
This type of stress can lead to disease and pest problems and the decline
of the trees.

- Check irrigation for leaks, over spray and excessive run times.
Change spray heads to low gallonage type. Be aware of weather patterns and use irrigation for the most needed periods.

I will continue to post tips and suggestions on water saving, low water requiring plants and drought issues as things progress.

Pictures here  show the succulent version of senecio, penstemon and a nice mix of low water plants- lavender, zauchneria, sedums, euphorbia and chocolate cosmos.

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