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Planting During a Drought

Now that the water situation in California is in full swing – what do we do now? Depending on who you ask, the answers will vary. At the root of it all is, efficiency.

Efficient planning, plant selection and method of irrigating our landscape are all key to plan survival. We have all heard is aid “If you fail to plan – you plan to fail”- this is especially true when attempting any project in landscape. When it comes to your landscape, make sure you think it our thoroughly, including the area you have determined for modification (including current conditions, deficiencies, the look you want to achieve and irrigation choice.)

When it comes to any landscape modification, especially turf, the plants recommended by the State of California are called “California Friendly” plants. Within this list stands three categories, medium water use plants, low water use plants and very low water use plants. Additionally, California natives are also a group of plants that are classified as drought tolerant and/or drought resistant.

These California native plants can require less water in summer than they do in winter but are best to be kept separate from non-native plants due to water requirements. For example, the non-native plants may require more water then the native plants, so watering them tougher will cause some to be overwatered or other to be under watering during the summer months.

The best way to keep your plants watered is with efficient irrigation, and in this case, drip irrigation. Most people see a 25-30 percent savings in water when switching from a conventional irrigation system to a drip. One of the important benefits of drip is the water goes directly where the plant needs it – the root zone. Also, the drip irrigation eliminates much of the runoff that traditional irrigation has – as long as your irrigation times are not too excessive.

Lastly, adding mulch to your landscape can help eliminate water evaporation from the soil surface. This tends to be a large water waster in most conventional systems. Proper planning and irrigating can make a huge difference in your next landscape project. Plan well, chose right and be as efficient as possible – its as simple as that!

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