Navigating your Landscape through a Drought
Updated: Jan 29
Nothing is more natural than water. Water is an essential resource for all aspects of life. With California’s shortage of rain and snow the past few years, conserving our limited water supply is critical. Here are some simple recommendations for conserving water in your landscape.
Irrigation controllers are commonly used to set start times, frequency, and duration of a home's sprinkler or drip system. Over-watering is very common. Most irrigation duration and frequency can be reduced by 20 to 40 percent with little to no effect on our landscaping.
Irrigation Adjustment Tips:
• Gradually reduce water use by 10 percent increments over the course of a few weeks – this will allow your lawns, trees and plants time to adjust.
• If you have misplaced your irrigation controller manual, you can probably find it online, simply visit www.SaveOurH2O.org
• Another irrigation controller option that some people choose is to install a "smart" irrigation controller. This can automatically adjust using current weather data, historical weather patterns and/or a soil moisture sensor.
• Check for and repair leaks.
• Adjust sprinkler heads to maximize coverage, avoid watering sidewalks and patios.
• Install a drip irrigation system, grouping plants with similar water needs together on one drip irrigation line.
NOTE: A lawn is typically the largest user of water in the landscape. Some landscape designs have large expanses of lawn that are never used but require considerable time, effort and resources to maintain. When having a landscape designed, use grass only when it serves a purpose, such as play or entertainment areas.
Water-saving Landscape Tips:
• Select water efficient sod varieties suited for your local climate.
• Do not overuse fertilizers, which increase growth and water demands.
• Replace nonessential lawn with ground covers, bark/mulch, deck/patios or a pond and waterfall!
• Regularly consider adjusting your irrigation schedule as well as seasonal changes.
• Use water efficient sprinkler heads.
• Infrequent deep watering encourages deeper root growth, and results in plants with greater drought tolerance.
• 3" to 4" layer of mulch reduces water evaporation and weeds, protects roots from heat, reduces weeds that compete for water.
• Water at night, ideally between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.. This reduces evaporation and wind will not be strong enough to interfere with sprinkler patterns.
• Mow lawns higher during very warm weather: Helps reduce growth rate, protects lawn from sunburn, promotes deeper root growth, shades soil, reduces weeds.
NOTE: Water Features such as Ecosystem Ponds and Pondless Waterfalls not only use less water than lawns, but use less water per week than a typical drip irrigation valve! This means you can replace your lawn with a water feature and a drip system for surrounding plants and you will still use less water than your old lawn used. And it takes over three (3) times as much water to establish a new lawn as it does to fill an ecosystem pond of the same size!