Water-Efficient Gardens: Still Not Convinced - Placer County Master Gardeners, California


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Water-Efficient Gardens: Still Not Convinced - Placer County Master Gardeners, California

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Water-Efficient Gardens: Still Not Convinced - Placer County Master Gardeners, California

  1. 1. Water-wise Landscaping Vol. I Issue 2 WATER-EFFICIENT GARDENS STILL NOT CONVINCED?Do you think water-efficient landscape proper pruning and mowing selections for the outer areas of themeans a dry, uninteresting landscape? techniques, coupled with applications landscape. As mentioned in theHopefully you read the article about of mulch to help conserve soil answer above, consider the culturalthis landscaping technique in Issue 1. moisture, are all water-efficient characteristics of each plant before landscape techniques. selecting a planting location. ManyWater-efficient landscape employs native plants, for example, requireseveral design techniques to fulfill its I have heard that only certain plants good drainage and won’t thrive inpromise of water-wise, resource- can be used in water-efficient heavy, clay soils.efficient, and eye-appealing landscapes. landscape and that I shouldn’tAdding water features, patios, and plant azaleas. Is this true? I like the idea of using mulch in mywalkways, irrigating efficiently, placing planting beds because of its manyplants with like cultural requirements No! Any plant can work in this type of benefits. What kinds of mulchestogether, using plants with higher landscape as long as it is in its are available?water requirements in an effective but appropriate environment. Water-limited manner, limiting turf grass efficient landscape principles and First, consider composting your yardareas, and using mulches are all part of proper plant selection guidelines waste. Composting provides a goodwater-efficient landscape. recommend that when selecting plants source of mulch and reduces landfill for your landscape you always consider levels. Nurseries and landscapeHere are the answers to some common the existing characteristics of the material suppliers sell mulch in bags ormisconceptions and questions about intended plant location. If you want to bulk. Many local programs, such as firewater-efficient landscape. plant azaleas, for example, select a safety and air quality control, have location that offers some shade; acidic chipping programs. Although not asI have an established landscape soil that is moist, well drained, and rich beneficial to the landscape as organicthat I enjoy. Can I still use water- in organic matter. Place together plants mulches, inorganics, such as stone,efficient landscape principles? with similar water needs. Water- cloth, and plastic, are an option. efficient landscape designs includeYes. You can make sure that your limited use of high water plants I want to set my automaticirrigation system is operating correctly, aggregated in focal areas of the irrigation system timer. How do Ithat leaks are promptly repaired, and landscape. know how often to water the lawn?that the amount of water delivered Lawns perform best when they receiveduring irrigation is I want to use native plants in my regular (two to three times per week),consistent with landscape. How do they work with deep watering. Generally, lawns canseasonal water-efficient landscape? use 1 to 1 ½ inches of water a week inneeds. Native plants that grow in your area hot, dry weather and about ½ to ¾Theuse are generally good choices in a water- inches in cooler months, if it hasn’tof efficient landscape design because they rained. The irrigation system can be are acclimated to the environment. turned off during rainy seasons. Native plants that need little summer Watering time is, of course, dependent water, once established, are good on the amount of water your system UNIVERSITY of CALIFORNIA - Agriculture & Natural Resources COOPERATIVE EXTENSION PLACER & NEVADA COUNTIES website: ceplacernevada.ucdavis.edu PLACER: 11477 E Avenue • Auburn, CA 95603 Tel: (530) 889-7350 Fax: (530) 889-7397 E-Mail: ceplacer@ucdavis.edu NEVADA: 255 So. Auburn Street • Grass Valley, CA 95945 Tel: (530) 273-4563 Fax: (530) 273-4769 E-Mail: cenevada@ucdavis.edu
  2. 2. delivers per hour. Irrigation suppliers, place and irrigating plants as needed, the through creative landscaping; nurseries, and your local Cooperative landscape is no longer one giant entity in however, I live in a community Extension office have information on which every plant gets the same care. with deed restrictions that specify how to determine watering times for You add nutrients and water only when how much grass and what type of they’re needed. You treat damage or your irrigation system. Water your plants to use. What should I do? disease only when and where it’s required. lawn as the soil begins to dry out but You can use water-efficient landscape In this way, you reduce the amount of before the grass wilts. Irrigate in the money you spend on morning before 10:00 a.m. principles in planning, designing and fertilizers, pesticides, maintaining your landscape. However, fungicides, and irrigation. Water-efficient landscape local requirements may restrict your principles also talk Regular maintenance, such flexibility in selecting plants for an as pruning, mowing, and about regular maintenance, which, optimal design. checking the irrigation for me, includes some mowing. system, is important for the How often should I mow my grass Principles, such as planning and health of any landscape. and how high should I set the maintaining an efficient irrigation Want more information? Still have some blade? system, become more important in questions? Contact your local U.C. your situation. You may consider Cooperative Extension office and ask to When mowing your lawn, set the working with your community to speak to a Master Gardener. We love to mower blade to cut to a height of 3 amend the existing requirements to talk gardening. inches. If you mow lower, a shallow allow for creativity, efficiency, and References root system can develop because the conservation of resources. The UC grass blades are not large enough to Cooperative Extension Master California Master Gardener Handbook. provide necessary nutrients to the Gardeners can provide information 2002. UC ANR Publication 3382. roots. Grass with a shallow root and are available to speak to groups Xeriscape Principles. Southwest Florida system is more susceptible to pests about resource-efficient landscaping. Water Management District. and drought. Remove about 1 inch www.swfmd.state.fl.us of grass each time you mow. One I’m looking forward to inch of grass quickly decomposes and establishing my water-efficient Resources returns nutrients to the soil – so you landscape so that I can eliminate Placer County Water Agency don’t have to collect the clippings. If yard work. http://www.pcwa.com you do not wish to leave the clippings or use a mulching mower, remember Water-efficient landscapes require a Water Wise Gardens of California http://www.usbr.gov/mp/watershare/ that grass clippings are an excellent lot less maintenance than traditional source of “greens” for the compost landscapes, but no landscape is Water Education Foundation http://www.water-ed.org pile. maintenance free. By applying water- efficient landscape principles, such as Water Saver Home http://www.h2ouse.org I like the idea of saving water putting the right plant in the right Written and compiled by JOANN MOORE, UCCE Master Gardener, and KEVIN MARINI, UC Program Representative WATER-WISE LANDSCAPING is a collaborative project of the University of California Cooperative Extension, UCCE Master Gardeners of Placer and Nevada Counties, Placer County Water Agency, and the US Bureau of Reclamation. For more information call 530-889-7388 or visit http://ceplacernevada.ucdavis.eduThe University of California prohibits discrimination against or harassment of any person employed by or seeking employment with the University on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer- related or genetic characteristic), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran (covered veterans are special disabled veterans, recently separated veterans, Vietnam-era veterans or any other veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized) in any of its programs or activities or with respect to any of its employment policies, practices, or procedures. University Policy is intended to be consistent with the provisions of applicable State and Federal laws. Inquiries regarding the University’s nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the Affirmative Action/Staff Personnel Services Director, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1111 Franklin, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94607-5200; (510) 987-0096 University of California, United States Department of Agriculture, Placer and Nevada Counties Cooperating