Water is a precious resource—and even more so in the dry desert climate of Arizona. Did you know that up to 70 percent of our water use is used outdoors?
About half of the water we put in our landscape often goes to waste. Overconsumption is a serious problem for many yards.
Help your landscape curb its water habit and regain its vibrant, healthy life with this 10-step guide to backyard rehab.
1. Understand what’s at stake
The truth is that more plants die from over-watering than from under-watering. Plants and plant roots definitely need water to survive in the desert, but roots also need oxygen to function properly. Overwatering can also cause plant roots to rot and die.
TIP: Be sure to water deeply, and then let the soil dry out between watering. Use our watering guidelines and you can check when your soil is drying out by using a long screwdriver.
2. Recognize the tell-tale signs
You can help your landscape curb its water habit by looking for clues in your yard. Are plant leaves turning light green or yellow? Do you notice algae or mushrooms growing? Do you water your lawn or garden on a set schedule regardless of the weather? If so, you just might be giving your plants too much water.
Tip: Do not water every day. We’ve got a great landscape watering guide to help homeowners apply just the right amount of water to keep their landscapes healthy and beautiful.
3. Cut out all the bad influences
There are lots of ways that we might be using water inefficiently. These bad influences could include weeds, which compete with your good plants for nutrients, light and water. Don’t forget to remove weeds from your lawn and garden frequently.
Tip: Get out and weed after a good rain. Once the soil is moist, it’s easier to hand pull them and get the roots and all. And, speaking of rain, check your yard a few weeks after a good rain. If you see small weed seedlings emerging, they are easier to remove when they’re small.
4. Take inventory of your tools, and when broken, fix them
Besides rakes or pruners, one of the best ‘tools’ that we use in our landscapes is the watering system. Leaky irrigation system parts or malfunctioning sprinklers or drip emitters can be very wasteful.
Tip: Turn your system on and evaluate your entire irrigation system from the valves to the emission points to check for leaks, misdirected or broken spray heads or other problems, and make repairs as needed. Don’t forget your goof plugs in case you need to cut off an emitter and plug the spaghetti tube if a plant has died and no longer needs to be watered.
As mentioned earlier, 70 percent of household water use is outdoors. But before you get started changing your landscape’s habits, consider educating yourself. That’s what Water – Use It Wisely is all about. We’re not selling anything but ways to save water.
Want to learn how you can transform your own landscape into a Xeriscape wonderland? We can help. Visit our Drab to Fab page to see our 10-part video series that will take you step-by-step through the process of creating your own low water use landscape that looks great and saves water.