Additional Tips for Lowering Water and Energy Use in Your Landscape

No Cost Solutions

Water properly to encourage deep rooting. Shallow watering leads to shallow rooted plants, which are more susceptible to drought. No cost solutions
• Water properly to encourage deep rooting. Shallow watering leads to shallow rooted plants, which are more susceptible to drought.
• Water plants only when deeded. Check moisture in the soil by pushing a soil probe into the ground Make sure the soil is moist only to the root depth. Most plants die from overwatering, not under watering.
• Water your landscape when the temperatures are cooler and air is still, usually at dawn. Avoid watering during peak hours of noon to 8 P.M.
• Adjust automatic irrigation systems to put water where its needed- around plants. Make sure sprayersor sprinkler heads do not send water toward driveways , fences, house walls, the street.
• Remove weeds. They steal water neeed by ornamentals.
• Consult your water agency for optimum watering schedules for your area and landscape
• Mow your lawn higher. Taller grasses have deeper roots and a larger soil reservoir to draw from.
• Control runoff on slopes. Use Headers or make basins down slope from plants. Install drip irrigation.
• Communicate smart watering choices with your landscape professional if you hire someone for watering and maintenance chores, let that person know water conservation should be a priority
• Sweep rather than hose down driveways and sidewalks.
• Wash your car using a bucket; rinse with a house that has a pistol grip shutoff.
• Time watering. If you water with hose-end sprinklers, use a timer so you don’t forget to turn the water off.
• Plant in fall. Setting out plants as weather cools will allow them plenty of time to put down roots and get established before weather warms in spring. Also, winter rains will irrigate them.

Low Cost Solutions

• Amend soil with organic matter before planting, especially vegetables and flowers and most ornamentals (but many native plants do well in unamended soil). Well-amended soil retains moisture better than sandy soil, and drains better than heavy clay soil.
• Maintain your sprinkler system for maximum efficiency. Aerate your lawn to improve water penetration and encourage deep roots.
• Install an automatic controller to schedule irrigation times. Reset programs seasonally and after power outages. Change batteries once or twice a year.
• Use hose-end shutoffs so you can turn the water off as you move from plant to plant.

Long-Term Investments

• Update your irrigation system. Replace old sprinklers with drip irrigation or a more efficient sprinkler system better suited to the plants you grow. Use soaker hoses to irrigate roses, and vegetable and cutting gardens.
• Replace nonfunctional turf areas with decks, patios, low-water use ground covers.
• Replace large expanses of concrete and asphalt on driveways, paths, or patios with permeable paving that allows water to be absorbed into the soil.
• Replace water-guzzling plants with low-water users your water agency will have lists of plants best adapted to your local climate. Or consult Sunset’s Western Garden Book.
• Reduce or eliminate water-guzzling lawns. Maintain turf only where it is needed for children’s play areas. Half of the water used at home is for landscape maintenance, and lawns need a disproportionate amount of that water.
• Switch to warm-season grasses. If you live in hot-summer areas, switch your cool-season lawn (bluegrass or tall fescue) to warm-season grasses (hybrid Bermuda, zoysia, buffalo grass, etc.). These can get by on at least 20 percent less water.
• Group landscape plants with similar watering needs. Don’t position high-water users next to those with low-water needs.