The Way to Water Conserving Landscapes
Are you conservation wise when it comes to water? Everyone likes beautiful, lush landscapes, especially the stunning variety available in California. Such landscapes require a precious resource to keep them beautiful: Water. Those who are concerned with conserving landscapes yet still want to be surrounded by natural beauty can now have their cake and eat it, too.
Saving water doesn’t mean letting plants wither and die. Nor does it mean landscaping with only stones and cacti, though that is a great look. There are several ways to be conservation wise when it comes to landscaping. Cutting water waste is an obvious choice, such as improving irrigation systems. Ground aeration, mulching, and design offer other methods.
Efficient water use is the first step in conservation. Faulty irrigation systems with leaks, broken parts or that overwater are obvious problems. Overwatering not only wastes water, it causes runoff, which is damaging to other aspects of the landscape. In addition, it’s not good for plant health.
- Hydro-Scape suggests thoroughly checking the system for breaks in pipes, valves, hoses, controllers and other components. If problems are found, give us a call. We have an extensive inventory of parts and supplies along with skilled staff to help.
- Regular watering schedules are crucial to conservation. Irrigation is not “one size fits all”; rather, it depends on the specific landscape.
- Adjust watering times according to seasonal changes. Some plants’ needs change with the seasons. Smart controllers like the Weather TRAK® LC Controller can take control of your landscape and apply water as necessary based on daily ET everywhere weather data.
- Turn the system off when it rains. There’s no need to “double water”; it’s a waste and can harm plants through overwatering. Most controllers offer a rain sensor upgrade to shut your controller off based on the amount of rainfall.
- Plant root zones should be moist, not saturated. A soil moisture meter is a great way to tailor watering such that it’s deep enough to encourage root growth without wasting water. The Toro® Soil Moisture Sensor is an upgrade to the system and works with most controllers.
Technology offers incredible advances to help landscapes become conservation-friendly. Higher performance and increased efficiency can be had with a well-planned irrigation upgrade. Hydro-Scape provides the latest and greatest in smart irrigation technology.
- Smart controllers take data from sensors and automatically adjust watering time and frequency to meet soil moisture, rain, wind, evaporation and transpiration rates, as well as plant types. There are several types available and many water districts offer rebates for residential (single- and multi-family), commercial and municipal landscapes.
- Low-precipitation multi-stream rotators save up to 30% over traditional spray heads. This is accomplished through slower and more even water application.
- Drip irrigation is perfect for use in areas, such as shrubs, where accidental disconnects by children or pets are less likely.
Plants need oxygen, nutrients and water in order to thrive. One of the ways they get these vital components is through watering. However, the soil surface sometimes compacts, becoming a waterproof barrier. Not only does this negatively impact plant health, it’s also a huge cause of runoff which is a huge waste of water. Aeration is the process of breaking up that barrier and letting life-giving water reach the roots. Plus, it eliminates runoff as the water travels down.
- Aerating planter beds is best done with a hand tool. Gently turn the surface avoiding root zones and plant damage.
- A manual or mechanical coring aerator is perfect for lawns.
- Products such as Pharmgrade® 4D and 4D+ have organic nutrients that will condition the soil.
- Special tips: Water the soil one to two days prior to aerating it. This keeps the soil from compacting around the holes. Two to three passes, with holes approximately three inches apart, is all it takes.
Conserve with Mulch
You’ll hear us say this often. That’s because mulch is a very cost-effective way to reduce water use. Mulch is a multi-purpose landscape element. It helps create an attractive view, controls weed growth, feeds the soil as it decays, and it cuts down on water loss. Bare soil, on the other hand, allows quick evaporation of any water applied to it.
Mulching is incredibly simple for something that offers so many benefits. All it takes is a two to three inch layer applied to plant beds and around shrubs and trees. Be careful not to mulch up to the base of shrubs and trees, otherwise, the plant bases may decay or become sick. Stop by Hydro-Scape and choose from a variety of bark mulch sizes.
Change to Conserve
Maybe it’s time for something new to replace a landscape that’s been around a while. Garden Tours are great resources of inspiration. If it’s not time to do a total “redo”, there are some small changes that have big impacts on water use. Try:
- Adding soil amendments nutrients, such products as Tri-C 6-2-4, Malibu Compost, Gypsum and Worm-Castings to allow water absorption and percolation.
- California offers a wide variety of native plants with lower water requirements.
- Hydrozones are landscaped areas in which all plants have the same water requirements.
- Take care to match space, water and sun needs for new plants.
Enjoy the beauty of nature while saving water with these conservation-wise landscaping choices.