WaterWiseGardeningA ConservationGardeningApproachLinda R McMahanOSU Extension Servicelinda.firstname.lastname@example.orgPhotographs by the author unless noted.
What isWaterWise?Waterwise gardeningis a style that usesdrought resistantplants to createlandscapes thatrequire minimalirrigation onceestablished.Penstemon, Nasturtium, and SantolinumspeciesOther Names: Xeriscaping,Water-Efficient Landscapes,WaterSense, Drought Tolerant
WhyWaterWise?R. St. Hilaire et.al,HORTSCIENCE43(7):2081–2092.2008.• “Although water used toirrigate the residential urbanlandscape will vary accordingto factors such as landscapetype, management practices,and region, landscapeirrigation can vary from 40%to 70% of household use ofwater. So, the efficient useof irrigation water in urbanlandscapes must be theprimary focus of waterconservation.”
What WaterWiseis Not!Not boring.Not all desertplants.Not “Zero-scaping.”Not maintenance-free.Private garden featuring waterwise plants andsustainable gardening techniques such as permeablepaths, mulch, and recyled wood.
Objectives Conserve water-reducerunoff of chemicals andnutrients.Create sustainablegardens that are lowermaintenance. Use non-invasive species. Focus on prairie plants,native plants, certainplants native to the US,and others known to bedrought resistant. Anaphalis margaritacea, pearly everlasting,native to Oregon’s west side and Northeastmountains.
ObjectivesUse appropriatetechniques likemulching and zoning –planting species withsimilar requirementstogether for efficiancy.Include all layers ofgrowth—trees, shrubs,herbaceous plants,and ground cover.A tub containing herbs and marigolds is aform of zoning.
Management- Plant Choice -Choosing the rightplants is key tocreating a Waterwisegarden.Example is a Spanishlavender from theMediterranean.
Management- Plant Choice -Plants native toOregonPlants native toMediteraneanclimatesSelected succulentsHerbsBulbsNorth American treesand prairie plantsOthers that aredrought-hardyLinum sp., blue flax
PlantsNative to Oregon Usually incorporatesnative plants consideredto be “garden-worthy”. Focuses on nativeprairie plants andflowering shrubs. Avoids or limits moistwoodland plants,wetland plants, or thoserequiring specialconditions for growth.Fall color--Ribes aureum, golden currant,native to Oregon’s eastside.
How to I Know theDistribution?I consult the OregonFlora Project, housed atOregon State University.This site providescorrect and currentscientific names,generates maps of plantdistribution, has aphoto database.Ribes aureum var. aureumwww.oregonflora.org
More NativePlants “Native” of coursedepends on whereyou are from if youwant to use onlylocal natives.Amelanchier alnifolia, service berry, native to manyregions on Oregon’s westside and some regions onOregon’s eastside. Different varieties are found ondifferent sides of the Cascade Mountains.
More NativePlants - Trees Choices includemany native trees. Trees provideshade, shelter,wildlife food andgarden interest.Arbutus menziesii, madrone,restricted to Oregon’s westside.Rhamnus purshiana,cascara, native towestern Oregon andNE mountains
More NativePlants - Shrubs Flowering shrubsmake seasonalcounterpoints. Both flowering andfruit bearing stagesprovide beneficialwildlife support. Shrubs are at eyelevel and a“medium” layer ofinterest.Symphoricarpos albus,snowberry, native toOregon’s west side andmountains on Oregon’seastside.Philadelphus lewisii, western mockorange, throughout Oregon, but ingenerally more moist locations eastof the Cascades.
More NativePlants - Perennials Perennials fit well intoborders, both sunnyand shady. Many have brilliantbursts of color. Perennials add interestand help protect fromsoil compaction.Eriophyllum lanatum,Oregon sunshine,grows statewide, butdifferent varieties arefound in differentportions of the state.Sidalcea campestris,restricted toWillamette Valley inOregon.
More NativePlants -Groundcovers Groundcovers arevaluable parts of alandscape. Groundcoversprovide habitat foramphibians andinsects. Groundcoversprotect the soilfrom erosion andcompaction.Viola glabella,stream violet,native to Oregon’swest side andnortheastmountains.Oxalis oregana,wood sorrel, foundon Oregon’s westside.
North AmericanPrairie PlantsPlants from prairies ofNorth America areexcellent choices forwaterwise landscapes,and tend to benoninvasive in Oregon.Gaillardia species, or blanket flower, can beannual or perennial. One species Gallardiapulchella occurs on Oregon’s eastside.
More PrairiePlantsSunflowers are bred or selected from annualspecies of Helianthus annuus, native to NAprairies. Wild Helianthus annuus are foundin parts of Oregon. Also shown is Rudbeckiahirta, black-eyed Susan, Helianthus ‘LemonQueen’ and Echinacea purpurea, purpleconeflower.
Other NA Plants,Focus on Trees andShrubs Plants Native toNorth Americashow fewerinvasive tendenciesin Oregon Many of ourstandard landscapetrees such as sugarmaple come fromNorth AmericaNyssa sylvatica,sassafras,Eastern NorthAmerica.Magnolia grandiflora,southern magnolia, from SEUS. Wikipedia.org author:DavetheMage.
Plants from theMediterraneanMany species of Cistus, or rockrose, shownon right. Santolina, lavendar cotton anddusty miller Jacobaea, shown on the left .
Bulbs Crocus, tulips,daffodils, and manyothers.They survive dryperiods by becomingdormant.
Herbs Many are fromMediterranean regionsof the world.Perennial herbs suchas sage, rosemary, andlavender so well in ourclimate with littlesupplemental water.
CertainSucculentsHardy succulents areperfect for thewaterwise approach.Shown here areEcheveria, severalnative Sedum (S.spathulifolium and S.oreganum), andSedum ‘Autumn Joy’.
OthersGinkgo biloba,maidenhair tree,native to Chinaand known fromthe fossil record inOregonSee “List of WaterWisePlants at:http://extension.oregonstate.edu/yamhill/eco-gardening/waterwise-gardening or postedonline atSlideshare.netEpilobium canum,California fuschia, a“near-native”perennial for most ofOregon, but foundnaturally in SWOregon.
LandscapeExamplesFront OfficeLandscape, OSUExtension Service,Yamhill County inMcMinnville at 2050Lafayette Ave NE.Plants includeCampsis radicans vine(native to NA) andMediterranean plantslike lavender, Cistus,and Santolina.
LandscapeExamplesNewberg LibraryWaterWiseDemonstration.Award-winning gardenis in the parking lot asyou proceed south on99W.Parking islands receiveno supplementalirrigation.Techniques areexplained for thepublic.
LandscapeExamplesMore from NewbergLibrary WaterWiseDemonstrationGarden.Bryan, shown here,was an OSU MasterGardener whoenvisioned theproject. He is nowwith Chehalem Parksand Recreation.
LandscapeExamplesPrivate Garden in hillswest of McMinnville,OR.Relatively “young”garden also designedto be deer-resistant.Includes some nativesbut relies heavily onplants from theMediterranean.
LandscapeExamplesPrivate Garden inMcMinnville, OR.Recently redesignedborder to be morewater efficient.Includes water-efficient “herb-lawn”,succulents, Oregoniris, and other shrubsand perennial plants.
Management- Irrigation -Irrigation methods arechosen to reduce wateruse and be site-specific.They include handwatering, drip systems,small pop-up sprayers,automated links toweather stations, andsoaker hoses.Irrigation of some kind isnecessary for plantestablishment in mostcases.
Management- Zoning -Zoning is a practice ofgrouping plants togetherdepending upon theircharacteristics, into zones.Example: plants requiringfull sun but minimal water,only in July-September.Each zone will receive adifferent water delivery.A plant pot can be a“zone” for high water useplants.
Management- Water -Simple things like parkingpavers can create apermeable surface toavoid water runoff from agarden.Other examples includepermeable concrete,gravel or bark paths, rainwater harvesting, evenbioswales or rain gardens.Parking pavers at the Newberg Librarygarden.
Management- Other Methods-Mulch and groundcoversreduce weeding, need forirrigation and protect soilfrom compaction.One innovative form of“mulching” is to plantplants very close to eachso the cannopy canprotect the soil andexclude most of thesunlight to reduce weedgrowth.An example from the Newberg Librarygarden.
Management- Making the Change -Change practices graduallyrather than all at once. Ittakes time.Consider minimizing oreliminating lawn, or usinga lawn alternative like an“herb lawn”.Do research before youbegin-hardiness, waterand light requirements,etc.Double check plant list forinvasive potential.An example from the Newberg Librarygarden.
Resources• Plants. Waterwise list forOregon developed by a teamand general website athttp://extension.oregonstate.edu/yamhill/eco-gardening• Plants and Methods.Xeriscaping in Central andEastern Oregon.http://extension.oregonstate.edu/deschutes/sites/default/files/xeri-all_1.pdf• Plants and Methods. Onlinenoncredit classes at OregonState University,https://pne.oregonstate.edu/catalogKnow where to gowhen you needinformation.
Resources• Plants. Slideshare.net. Searchfor presentations andmaterials by Linda McMahan.• WaterSense, a Program of theEnvironmental ProtectionAgency:http://www.epa.gov/watersense/• Water Efficient LandscapeBooklet, EPA:http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/docs/water-efficient_landscaping_508.pdfKnow where to gowhen you needinformation.
Resources• Brochure City of Portland:http://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/article/268757• Website – Water EfficientPlants for the WillametteValley:http://www.clackamasproviders.org/water-efficient-plants/ note: some plantslisted are “moderate use”and may require carefulzoning to conserve overallwater.Know where to gowhen you needinformation.
Thank youCopyright Linda R. McMahan, Oregon State University Extension Service, 2013.Presentation may be used freely for educational purposes with credit to theauthor and Oregon State University. Please contact the author for other uses.