Arizona is recognized for its desert climate, giving us hot summers and mild winters. Although we love the possibility of lying out by the pool year round, this can lead to many homeowners overwatering their landscapes. You can love your landscape without using gallons of water to moisten your plant’s soil. After referring to this helpful guide, you will save money and water energy while upholding the final goal of an attractive landscape.
Why Care About Saving Water in Your Landscape
Arizona’s high temperatures cause a large amount of water to evaporate, leaving this state with a less abundant water source. Arizona is also the third fastest-growing state this year, which can lead to future droughts and challenges facing the state’s water supply. Coming to terms with water scarcity is the first step to water conservation, so let’s begin with your landscape.
Increases Life Expectancy of Watering System
Broken sprinkler head
Reducing your water quantity promotes longer lasting water supplies, lowering your plumbing treatment costs. Avoid a dripping outside faucet or pipes leaking by watering your grass only when needed. Forgetting to turn off your watering system can increase general wear and tear, increasing the chances of you having to purchase a new system sooner. Overall, reducing the amount of water used through your preferred watering supplies will result in a more reliable system.
Decreases Runoff to Storm Sewers
Rain is less frequent in Arizona, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the occasional flash flood. The downfall of heavy rain that arrives with monsoons in the Phoenix area can wash and carry oil, pollution, and dirt across the valley and into our storm sewers. The water proceeds down the sewers which can flood our streams and streets. Excessive amounts of water in the street can lead to accidents and potential contamination in drinking water.
Promotes Water Conservation
Leaking water spigot
We all have to begin somewhere when it comes to water conservation. Beginning with your landscape is a great step to get started conserving water throughout your entire household. Once you master the resources and alternatives you can use to save water, it makes it easier for you to spread the word and get others on board. Although you taking the initiative to save water makes a difference, getting others within your community to join you is an effective way to leave your footprint when it comes to water conservation!
How to Save Water in Your Landscape
The leaves have fallen and the flowers are beginning to bloom; spring is here! Spring is the time to determine ways you can save water on your landscape. Overwatering is a common mistake homeowner make when watering their landscape. Although your first reaction to a plant that turns yellow and wilts is to water, the signs of overwatering and underwatering can seem quite similar. Check out 11 ways to save water and money in your home to learn how to save in addition to your landscape.
Plant Drought-Resistant Lawns, Shrubs and Plants
Drought-resistant landscapes can withstand high heat and require a small amount of water to maintain their functional qualities. If you are planting a new lawn or overseeding an existing lawn, use drought-resistant grasses such as the new “Eco-Lawn”. This lawn produces thin blades of grass that reduce the amount of water required to grow. The roots of this lawn grow deep into the grown seeking out nutrients and natural water present in the deep soil. Once it’s time to cut your lawn, always refer to the 3-inch rule. This length is the perfect height for your grass to water itself during rainfall and prevent many weeds from germinating. Eco Lawns don’t require fertilizers or chemicals, so they are also perfect for pets. Since these types of landscapes require a small amount of care, they make the perfect landscape for first-time homeowners.
Group Plants According to Their Watering Needs
Selecting the appropriate plant types is essential in the landscaping process. To have a successful landscape means to plan accordingly, keeping in mind all factors that help enhance the overall unity. Grouping your plants according to their correct hydro-zones can help you save money, effort, and most importantly water! You should understand how much water your entire landscape needs before you turn the hose on and begin to water. Dividing the landscape into hydro-zones is the first step to developing a watering schedule. A watering schedule reduces the chance of overwatering and encourages deep root growth. Positioning the right plant in the right place prevents overwatering plant life that may surround your targeted area.
Put a Layer of Mulch Around Trees and Plants
Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 2 – 4 inches of organic material such as mulch or compost will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture. Press the mulch down around the drip line of each plant to form a slight depression which will prevent or minimize water runoff. Add organic matter and use efficient watering systems for shrubs, flower beds and lawns. Adding organic material to your soil will help increase its absorption and water retention. Areas which are already planted can be top-dressed with compost or organic matter. Replace mulch around your landscape at least once a year and pull weeds when necessary. This will result in less water usage and prolongs healthy soil. Discover different mulch materials, to help determine the best type for your landscape.
Water your Lawn Only When it Needs it
A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn’t need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. If you notice the tips of the blades of grass begin to curl, this can be an indication your lawn needs water. An easy signal your lawn is suffering from drought stress is a bluish-grey appearance. If this occurs, turn on your watering system immediately and get to work. Most lawns only need about 1″ to 2” of water each week. During dry spells, you can stop watering altogether and the lawn will go brown and dormant. Once cooler weather arrives, morning dew and rainfall will bring the lawn back to its usual health. This may result in a brown summer lawn, but it conserves gallons of water.
Invest in a lawn sprinkler system
Avoid spending hours working to get the perfect green landscape. Along with lessening your effort needed to water your landscape, this is a perfect solution to conserving water. Having an automatic sprinkler system installed waters specified areas, during the right time of day with the correct amount of water. Automatic sprinkler systems also incorporate rain sensors, leaving you with no worries when an unexpected downpour occurs. A flat, squared lawn is not always present in a homeowner’s landscape. Sprinkler systems are installed to water all parts of lawns including hills, small slopes, and corners. Don’t continue to waste water by moving a sprinkler around to appropriate areas, or forgetting to watch the clock. Invest in a lawn sprinkler system and ease your mind throughout the growing season.
Deep-soak your lawn
Exposed shallow tree roots above ground
When watering the lawn, do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it will do the most good. Shallow root systems have a low level of oxygen and are the first areas to dry out. This makes the plants vulnerable to droughts and insects. In an event of no rainfall, like Arizona, this is damaging to the plant. Sprinkling shallow-rooted plants with water encourage their growth and do nothing to help prevent the landscape from damages or harsh weather conditions. It is a common mistake to over-water your plants as an attempt to deep-soak your lawn, so here is a helpful hint. Put an empty tuna can on your lawn, when it’s full you’ve watered the precise amount.
Water During the Early Parts of the Day; Avoid Watering When it’s Windy
Early morning is generally better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus. Early watering and late watering also reduce water loss to evaporation. Watering early in the day is also the best defense against slugs and other garden pests. Try not to water when it’s windy – wind can blow sprinklers off target and speed evaporation. Strategically place your soaker hoses throughout your landscape. Installing a rain barrel water catchment system is an environmentally friendly way to save up to 80 gallons of water, providing free irrigation. Having your own water resource in your backyard is an effective way to hand water problematic areas that may occur within your landscape. Rain barrels not only promote water conservation within your home but throughout your community! Check out the best times to water your lawn in Arizona for more information on maintaining a landscape in Arizona’s hot climate.
Landscape Water Conservation Resources
Here are resources I found while looking for ways to improve water conservation within your landscape. To find out more ways on how to conserve water review the resources I stumbled upon below.
Landscaping Watering Guide
This is a great guide that goes into depth about water conservation within all areas of your landscape. It talks about effective ways to enhance your water wisdom through water scheduling tactics. Following the guide’s tips on how to water your landscape will leave you with your lawn looking better than ever before.
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