Rethinking the Yard in Drought-Stricken Regions
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Rethinking the Yard in Drought-Stricken Regions

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Rethinking the Yard in Drought-Stricken Regions

Rethinking the Yard in Drought-Stricken Regions

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Rethinking the Yard in Drought-Stricken Regions Rethinking the Yard in Drought-Stricken Regions Presentation Transcript

  • 6E6 SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2012 • THE HAYS DAILY NEWS Home and GardenRethinking the yard in drought-stricken regions By BETSY BLANEY their young. Judy Shack- Associated Press In Lubbock, Jackie Driskill, 62, elford works LUBBOCK, Texas — Texans advocates for native plants as presi- in her yard inwatched disaster unfold slowly last dent of the South Plains Chapteryear as a historic drought took a of the Texas Master Naturalists. 2008 in Na-withering toll across the region. She’s been putting in plants that can cogdoches, Trees died by the millions, lawns handle the heat and drought condi- Texas.and landscaping wilted, lakes shrank tions for about a decade, and her APand wildlife struggled. Water bills property gets noticed, she said.shot up. All of this, experts say, “It’s kind of evolved from a typi-could be just the nudge homeown- cal yard to wildscaping,” she said.ers across the Southwest need to do “We’re kind of an oddball in ourthings differently in their yards. area.” The Texas Parks and Wildlife In Dallas, wildscapes have beenDepartment is featuring a “Drought planted in some public venues. JudySurvival Kit” on its website that Meagher, a master gardener andoffers residents, who are facing a master naturalist, said volunteersforecast of more dry weather, tips tend to the wildscape next to theon how to landscape while reining Museum of Natural History at Fairin water consumption. Park, but only infrequently because Restrictions on outdoor watering the space needs little care or water.hit Texas cities and towns hard in Wildscapes “are critical in urban2011 — the state’s driest year on settings because we’ve stripped therecord — and with another La Nina wildlife habitat when we developweather pattern already in place, them, in most cases,” said Markthose limitations only will deepen Klym, who handles certification ofwithout ample rainfall. wildscapes for the Parks and Wildlife It’s an opportunity, the state Department.experts say, to reconfigure yards into Residents should use mulch to“wildscapes” with colorful native help retain soil moisture, and collectplants, shrubs and trees that use less rainwater from their roofs.water and benefit wildlife as well. “This is our chance,” Meagher And water conservation isn’t only said. “This is an opportunity to ing to force people to rethink theirfor times of drought; many water make all the changes we’ve been outdoor watering.”suppliers across arid and semiarid needing to make. We are headed The kit offers hints for cutting wa-parts of the country urge it all the toward severe problems” as the ter use inside and outside, includingtime, and say outdoor yard use is population grows. checking your home for leaks, takingone of the largest contributors to The best time to plant is fall, but shorter showers, and watering in thewaste. homeowners might want to check early morning when it’s cool and In Texas, the kit doesn’t advise with a local nursery about what to less windy. Raise the lawnmowerremaking the yard overnight. Hom- plant as the drought persists. blade to at least 3 inches, the kiteowners should start small, it said, “What we’re going to see this advises, to promote root growthcreating a wildscape in one part of summer is more severe cutbacks on and provide the root system shade,the yard and adding to it as weather water use from municipalities,” said which helps hold moisture in theand finances permit. the department’s water resource soil. For swimming pools, buy a Perennials are ideal in wildscapes, chief, Cindy Loeffler. “That’s go- cover and a water-saving filter.and newly planted native trees willneed extra water at first. Avoidwater-hogging grasses. Seamless Steel Siding • Vinyl Siding “Anybody can do it, and you can • Entry Doors • Replacement Windowsdo it on any size home,” said KellyBender, an urban wildlife biologist • Insulation • Storm Doors & Windowsfor the department. “Most people • Seamless Guttering • Patio Covershave some understanding of this.It’s just refining that understanding.” • Room Enclosures Putting in heartier native plantsand vegetation brings yards alivewith butterflies, hummingbirds andother birds. A wildscape providesfood, water, shelter and space forwildlife to flee predators and raise