Conserving Water in Your Landscape


During drought situations, landscaping is one of the first areas where water-use restrictions are applied. However, this does not mean you have to sacrifice your landscape. Field studies have shown that many established trees, shrubs and ground covers survive with 20% to 40% less water. There are also a number of things you can do in your landscape to help conserve water.

  • Incorporating compost into the soil at planting time helps conserve water by improving the water absorption and water holding properties of the soil.
  • Applying mulch around trees, shrubs and in planter beds helps retain soil moisture prevent weeds. Wood chips can be used as mulch and should be applied to a depth of at least 2 inches.
  • Allowing grass to grow taller in the summer months helps conserve water and encourages deep rooting.
  • Checking irrigation systems regularly for leaks and operational problems and correcting issues immediately improves uniformity of application and reduces water waste.
  • Watering of established trees, shrubs and groundcovers can typically be reduced by as much as 20%. When reducing watering, do so gradually over several weeks so plants can adjust.
  • Most trees and shrubs can survive with a few deep, thorough waterings at intervals of several weeks through the spring and summer.
  • Irrigating in the very early morning hours, typically between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. reduces water loss due to evaporation.
  • Planting trees and shrubs in the fall when temperatures are typically cooler reduces the amount of water needed to establish new plantings.

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