Should You Change Your Landscape or Keep What You Have?

You don't have to rip out your landscape to save water! There are things you can do to a conventional landscape to significantly reduce water waste. Conventional landscapes get a bad rap because most people overwater them or water them incorrectly. 

  Image © Inland Empire Landscape Contest

Image © Inland Empire Landscape Contest

Before you think you have to rip out your landscape, consider the following: 

Established trees and shrubs do not need frequent watering, even those that are not native. In fact, frequent watering causes more problems than any other factor in the landscape. Most trees have roots in the top three feet of soil and extend in width well beyond the tree canopy. Shrubs are similar, but on a smaller scale. It is best to soak the soil when watering, then let it dry down. How long should you let the soil dry down? In the hottest areas, during the hottest weather (We’re talking Hemet in July!), you don’t need to water mature, well-established trees and shrubs more than once or twice a month. However, when you do water, you want to soak the entire root area. In the winter, you may not need to water at all if we get some occasional soaking rain. If you have trees in lawn, the trees will usually get enough water if the lawn is watered adequately. If you reduce water to your lawn, the trees will likely need some additional water once or twice a month.

Tired of your old landscape and ready for something new? Great! Be sure to read the Planning chapter, and know that whatever you plant will require additional water for at least two growing seasons to get the new plants established.

Here is a helpful publication from the University of California (Provided with permission):

  © Getty Images

 

What about lawns? Read the section on lawns in this chapter and you might be surprised!