Xeriscape: Seven Steps to a Water-Wise Landscape, Make Every Drop Count - Georgia Water Council


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Xeriscape: Seven Steps to a Water-Wise Landscape, Make Every Drop Count - Georgia Water Council

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Xeriscape: Seven Steps to a Water-Wise Landscape, Make Every Drop Count - Georgia Water Council

  1. 1. STEP 5: EFFICIENT IRRIGATION STEP 7: APPROPRIATE For additional information on saving water in Make Every Drop Count! the landscape, see Georgia Cooperative Extension Efficient irrigation usually results from a carefully MAINTENANCE Bulletin 1073, Xeriscape: A Guide to Developingand appropriately designed irrigation system. Theirrigation should be designed according to the water A Xeriscape is a low-maintenance landscape. It requires: a Water-wise Landscape on the Web at http://pubs. Xeriscape: caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/B1073.htm. Also visitneeds of plants. Never install an irrigation systembefore the landscape design is created. A well- • Less water http://www.caes.uga.edu/topics/disasters/drought/ Seven Steps to a • Less fertilizer or contact your local county Cooperative Extensiondesigned irrigation system results in more efficientwater use and less water waste. • Less frequent fertilization office by calling 1-800-ASK-UGA1. Water-Wise Landscape • Less routine pruning Consider using drip irrigation to water ornamental • Fewer pesticides Prepared by:trees, shrubs and flowers. It uses 30% to 50% less Water, fertilization and pruning encourage Rose Mary Seymour and Gary L. Wadewater than sprinkler irrigation, and less water is lost The University of Georgia new vegetative growth, and new growth increasesto evaporation than with sprinklers. Departments of Biological & Agricultural Engineering the overall water requirements of the plant. This and Horticulture Georgia’s succulent new growth wilts readily during periods of limited rainfall, which encourages additional Endorsed by: populationSTEP 6: USE of MULCHES irrigation. Applying less fertilizer and fertilizing less growth is placing Mulches provide many benefits in the landscape. frequently reduces the chance of nutrient run-offThey: an ever-increasing into rivers, lakes, and streams. strain on water In summer,• Aid in retention of water and minimize Grasscycling, the practice of letting clippings evaporative water loss from the soil surface supply. residential fall back into the lawn when mowing, is another• Help prevent weeds that compete with plants for important part of Xeriscape maintenance. Clippings water use increases moisture provide a natural mulch at the soil surface, helping significantly when• Add organic matter and beneficial micro- reduce watering. organisms to the soil citizens use water • Moderate soil temperatures outdoors for landscape • Prevent erosion maintenance, • Serve as a barrier Research has shown that as much as 30% of the nitrogen applied as fertilizer is recycled back to recreation and to certain soil- borne plant the turfgrass when the clippings are added back cleaning. diseases to the grass. As water The University of Georgia and Ft. Valley State University, the U.S. becomes more Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating. limited, water Cooperative Extension, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, offers educational conservation is essential. programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to Make Every Drop Count... race, color, national origin, age, gender or disability. A water-wise landscape Our Future Depends on It! An Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Organization can reduce outdoor Committed to a Diverse Work Force Publication C895-1 July 2006 water use by as Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, The University of Georgia College of Agricultural much as 50%. and Environmental Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. J. Scott Angle, Dean and Director PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER
  2. 2. A water-wise landscape is more than just a drought-tolerant landscape. It’s a landscape thathas been carefully designed, properly installed and The seven steps of Xeriscape are: • Topography and slope of the site • Chemical characteristics To determine chemical characteristics of the soil, or an exotic import, if it is adapted to the soil, the climate, and local site conditions, it will thrive.managed to assure year-round beauty, in addition to take a sample to your local county extension for Remember, plants don’t save water...being drought-tolerant. testing. The results will tell you whether your soil People save water! You don’t have to totally re-design your landscape STEP 1: Proper Planting needs lime and what kind of fertilizer will provideor spend a lot of money to make your landscape and Design best growth.more water wise. Sometimes, changing watering A water-wise landscape is designed to be Amend the soil with organic matter to improve: STEP 4: PRACTICAL TURFGRASS habits, adding mulch, or relocating a plant to a more functional and water-efficient. Consider the lay • Structure and texture AREASdesirable location can save a lot of water. of the land — differences in soil • Nutrient holding capacity For recreational areas, turfgrass can’t be beat. It: Over-watering is more of a problem than drought and changes in sunlight levels • Water holding capacity • Reduces erosionin Georgia landscapes. Over-watering may cause throughout the day. Existing For poorly drained • Provides aesthetic appealroot rot and weaken a plant, making it more prone vegetation on the site indicate soils, add coarse-textured • Absorbs pollutantsto insects and diseases. Ironically, plants are most the kinds of plants that aggregate, such as pea gravel However, turfgrass also requires more frequentoften over-irrigated during periods of limited rainfall, grow well in the area. or stone. maintenance than most other plants, and it usuallya time when water resources are in short supply. When designing During landscape receives the highest amount of supplementalOver-watering not only wastes water, it also increases a water-wise construction: irrigation of any plant in the landscape.the likelihood that fertilizers and other chemicals landscape, group • Slope beds away Turfgrass varieties differ tremendously in theirmay runoff into storm drains where they become plants according to from buildings drought tolerance. Bermudagrass, for instance,pollutants and make their way back to our streams, water needs. Place • Introduce thrives in low water-use zones if it is kept healthyrivers, and lakes. plants into one of three gentle swales to and well-maintained. It will actually go dormant Coined in Colorado in 1980, the word Xeriscape water-use zones: high, moderate, or add interest and during drought, then bounce back with vigor when(pronounced Zera-scape), comes from the Greek low. to retain soil rain returns. Ask your local county Extension Agent word “Xeros” which means dry. High water-use zones — small, moisture or nurseryman for a list of recommended drought- highly visible areas, such as the home entrance, • Plant moisture-loving plants at low tolerant turfgrasses for your area. are watered as needed. elevations In a Xeriscape, Xeriscape is a seven-step approach to water Moderate water-use zones — plants in these areas • Plant drought-tolerant plants at higher elevations the amount of conservation in the landscape. The steps are: are watered only when they show signs of moisture lawn irrigated is stress by wilting and turning a gray-green color. minimized, just 1. Proper planning and design STEP 3: APPROPRIATE PLANT Low water-use zones ­— plants in these zones are as the amount 2. Soil analysis and improvements watered only during establishment. Selection of irrigated 3. Appropriate plant selection Ideally, not more than 10% of the landscape should Today there is a huge variety of plants on the ornamental 4. Practical turf areas be zoned for high water use, 30% or less of the area market, and selecting the right plant for each location plantings is 5. Efficient irrigation should be zoned for moderate water use, while 60% in the landscape is confusing. minimized. 6. Use of mulches or more of the landscape should be zoned for low Adaptability of the plant to the site in which it is Through careful 7. Appropriate maintenance water use. to be grown should be an important consideration plant selection when selecting plants. Consider: and proper • Sun exposure management, The seven steps work in any climate. A landscape STEP 2: Soil Analysis and • Light intensity turfgrasses can growdesigned, installed and managed according to Improvements • Typical wind conditions in all three water-the seven steps uses up to 50 % less water than a An individual landscape may have many soil types. • Average summer and winter temperatures use zones in atraditional landscape. A well-designed Xeriscape is Evaluate the soils for: • Drainage patterns Xeriscape.just as attractive as a traditional landscape. • Structure and texture Regardless of whether a plant is native to the area