Water Conservation Tips for Landscaping - University of Arkansas
Water ConservationTips for Landscaping In Arkansas, a surprising A common water-efficient To conserve water and increaseamount of water is used daily in concept is known as xeriscape. the health of plants, add organichome landscapes. Water authori- This is a concept developed in matter to the existing soil. Thisties have reported that as much Colorado in response to annual will increase the soil’s ability toas 70 percent of water from water shortages. This style of land- store water for the plant to use.municipal water systems can be scape design depends primarly on Mix organic matter in with theattributed to residential use. Of rainfall and relies little on supple- top 4 to 6 inches of soil. Organicall the water used in one house- mental water. Landscapes that matter also helps with drainagehold during the summer months, follow water-conserving principles and to relieve compaction of hardalmost 50 percent is used to can remain beautiful, require less soils. Remove all weeds andmaintain landscape plantings. labor and are water efficient. grasses in areas; they will compete with new plants for nutrients and In some areas of the state, water in the soil.water supplies may be limited or Water Conservationrestricted and can be expensive topurchase. However, the home- Principles Use Practical Turf Areasowner does not have to sacrifice Turf is the largest user ofcolor and beauty in order to prac- Planning and Design water in the home landscape. Ittice water conservation in the Creating a water-efficient carries with it a high cost inplantings and maintenance of land- landscape begins with a practical money and time to maintain. Usescapes. Peak usage of water comes plan for design. Analyze your area turf only in areas where it serves aduring the hot summer months with locations of existing turf areas, purpose, as in areas of entertain-(May, June, July and August). trees and shrubs. Consider the ment and play. When deciding onDuring this period, it is very budget, function, appearance and a turf, select a variety suited forimportant to follow water maintenance of the landscape the climate of Central Arkansas.efficiency plans set forth by the plans. Be aware of different climate Bermudagrass and zoysiagrass arewater authorities. aspects of the area: amounts of sun, the two best types of warm-season shade and slope. Local professional turf that do well in the hot, dryThe Concept of landscape architects and designers can help in proper decision-making climate of this region. These turfs are water-efficient grasses.Traditional and and implementing the desires of Consider replacing nonessential the homeowner. turf areas or shady areas with otherXeriscape Landscaping groundcovers, patios, hardscapes The traditional concept of Soil Analysis and Preparation or mulches.landscape is characterized by large Soil testing is an important partareas of turf with trees and shrubs of every successful landscape. It Efficient Irrigationplaced throughout. This type of determines which nutrients are Always keep a well-maintainedlandscape contains the two needed to improve existing soil. and efficient sprinkler system.greatest consumers of water in Contact your local county Exten- Check your system regularly forthe landscape. Conventional sion office for proper directions on broken heads, disrupted nozzles,landscaping can be costly for the how to collect a soil sample. leaks or faulty valves. Do nothomeowner to maintain.
water driveways, sidewalks or water by reducing evaporation. Itstreets. Water only when necessary, also helps to eliminate erosion andand adjust your irrigation system prevent competition for nutrientswith changes in weather. Rain shut- from weeds. Mulch should beoff devices should be installed on applied to the entire area at 1 toall irrigation systems. These 3 inches in depth.devices are a major contributor towater conservation. Appropriate Maintenance When using a hose-type Heavy pruning of plants leadssprinkler, use a timer device to drought-tolerant plants are to excessive growth and extraeliminate water running for exces- established, they use far less water needs. Lightly prune plantssive periods of time. Use efficient water than other plants. to shape and direct their growth.watering systems such as soaker or Homeowners can reduce weeds bydrip hoses that limit water output. • Group plants together hand pulling weeds in the earlyOnly operate irrigation systems in according to water needs. This stages, preventing the spread ofthe early morning hours. This will help to properly utilize weed seeds. Properly timed appli-reduces evaporation of water and is every bit of water that is dis- cations of herbicides and insecti-best to maintain plant health. tributed. Local nurseries and cides can also contribute to waterApply water infrequently and the county Extension office can conservation. Apply nutrients onlydeeply to plants to ensure that supply needed knowledge of when plants need them, and use aroots will grow deep and healthy. the plants that are practical for slow-release formula of fertilizer. your landscape. Always follow wateringPlant Selection guidelines or restrictions set forth Use Mulch• Select drought-tolerant plants by the water municipalities. These that are proven to grow well in Mulch any organic material recommendations are put into the Central Arkansas climate. that covers the soil around plants. place to ensure water is available Tree bark, compost or inorganic for household use. Homeowners• Consider using native plants materials, such as lava rock, are should help educate their family that grow and are adapted to options homeowners can use. and neighbors on the importance of your climate zone. When Mulch helps the soil conserve water conservation. This tip sheet was written by MARK BROWN, Pulaski County Extension Agent - Water Conservation with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture in Little Rock. Printed by University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service Printing Services. University of Arkansas, United States Department of Agriculture and County Governments Cooperating The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.