Water-Wise Plants Best Ways to Save and Drought Tips
Train your Xeriscape
If you water your Xeriscape too frequently, you are encouraging shallow roots. By spreading out your watering you can help your plants to establish deeper roots that will help them survive drought periods. Water infrequently (weekly) and deeply when necessary.
Using proper soil preparation and maintenance practices will help to build healthy soil and vigorous, deep-rooted plants. These plants are more resistant to disease, tolerate some insect and drought damage, and will out-compete many weeds.
Water At Night
Repair All Leaks
During a drought your Xeriscape plants should fare better than traditional landscape plants. However, Xeriscape plants are usually “low water” use plants not “no water” use plants, and they will need some water to survive – especially new plants.
In a drought where limited watering is permitted you will probably be able keep all of your Xeriscape plants alive, even if they don’t thrive to their fullest potential. Here is where grouping plants with similar water needs together become invaluable. By understanding the water needs of your plants, you will be able to ration your water across the Xeriscape, giving more water to the areas that need it. Remember that many turf varieties can survive a period of dormancy, but other plants may not fare as well if they are allowed to dry out completely.
Severe Drought Response
In a severe drought where outdoor watering is severely restricted or even eliminated, you must prioritize your landscape and select the plants that will receive water and those that won’t. Divide your landscape into three categories: 1) High value/must save; 2) Moderate value/try to save; and 3) Low value/save if possible.
High value plants usually include valuable trees and shrubs that have taken years to establish that will die without water. Moderate value plants might include certain perennials, newer shrubs that can be replaced, and drought tolerant Xeriscape type plants that will require little water anyway. Low value plants usually includes turf grass (which can often bounce back successfully from a complete dry out) and annuals.
The old saying is still true, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. If there is a drought forecast for your area – plant more drought resistant plants.
Tap into Graywater Irrigation Water Sources
Place rain barrels at the bottom of your roof downspouts. If any rain does fall you’ll be able to use the water more effectively on the plants that really need it.
Ration Water Across Your Landscape
Keep your moderate and low value plants on a starvation diet. Contact local hortaculturalists and plant experts to determine the minimum amount of water required to keep your plants alive. Some plants can survive (not flourish, but survive) on a small amount of water delivered once per week.