Replacing turf grass with Xeriscape by itself creates a tremendous opportunity for saving water. However, once you have created a Xeriscape there are things you can do to maximize water efficiency.
The number one water efficiency strategy is to avoid over-watering your Xeriscape. Over-watering is most prevalent in the cooler fall months when summer irrigation schedules have not been revised to meet the current weather conditions. Over-irrigation causes three basic problems.
- Over-irrigation pushes water beyond the root zone and is wasted. This occurs most notably in the case of turf grass, but can also occur on Xeriscape.
- Over-irrigation causes excessive run-off, which contributes to non-point source environmental pollution.
- Over-irrigation, in general, degrades plant health.
There are a number of ways to reduce irrigation and all of these recommendations are explored in great detail in this web site. Reducing water use on Xeriscapes (and standard landscapes) depends on a number of factors including the type of plants, the soil, landscaping practices, climate, irrigation system efficiency, etc. It can all be a bit overwhelming. Many water utilities offer free landscape audits. An audit is a great opportunity to meet with a local expert and discuss ways to improve efficiency on your specific landscape. Contact your utility for information on these programs.
Ways to Save Water on Your Xeriscape
- Group plants with similar water demands together. This makes it easier to apply the proper amount of water to a larger percentage of your landscape.
- Improve the quality of your soil through proper fertilization and aeration practices
- Apply a thick layer of mulch around your plants to reduce evaporation. It looks great too!
- Improve your irrigation efficiency. A drip system is often the best option for applying water to Xeriscape.
- Upgrade your sprinkler clock
- Use hose timers for manual irrigation
- Install a rain shutoff device on your automatic sprinkler system
- Harvest rainwater
Improving irrigation efficiency is a win-win situation all around. You save money on your water bill and your landscape gets the water it needs without waste. What could be better?