Water Conservation Techniques
Keep Earth Happy: How to Conserve Water
in Your Orange County Garden
We see gardening as an exciting challenge where we enjoy our plants and the outdoors while ensuring that we take care of the environment we adore. As our Earth Day weekend celebration nears, we thought it would be a poignant time to touch on our responsibility as gardeners to conserve water in every way we can. Conservation doesn’t mean you have to turn off your taps; instead, we recommend designing your landscape in a sustainable and drought-tolerant manner that maintains your curb appeal.
Conservation Tip #1:
Hydrozoning involves separating your yard and garden into different zones with similar water requirements. It is one of the easiest ways to tackle water conservation! For example, you can plant rosemary, lavender, and native ceanothus under an olive tree, and they will all thrive with infrequent watering. Meanwhile, you can group roses, geraniums, and flowers, which have similar water requirements. You would use more water by mixing your flowers with the rosemary and lavender than you would if they have their own zones because the zones ensure that you don’t overwater plants that don’t need the extra moisture. That’s the power of hydrozoning!
Conservation Tip #2:
Mulch, Mulch, & Mulch Some More!
Mulch is like the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to water conservation! It fights evaporation like no other by creating a physical barrier between the sun and the soil, which helps to reduce evaporation and keeps your plant’s roots cool. Mulch also helps reduce weeds, which is an added benefit to its evaporation-fighting powers! We recommend applying a relatively thick layer of an organic mulch, anywhere from 2 to 4 inches, in your garden beds and at the base of trees and shrubs. Our personal favorites are the shredded redwood or cedar mulches.
Conservation Tip #3:
Adjust Your Irrigation
Whether you are using a sprinkler, watering manually with the hose, or if you have an existing irrigation system, there are a few different ways to reduce water use. Start by reducing your water use by about 10 percent incrementally over the course of a couple of weeks. With a slow adjustment, your plants will get used to slightly less water than usual.
With any irrigation system, you can install a ‘smart’ irrigation controller, which will tune into useful info like current weather data, soil moisture sensors, and historical weather patterns to water accordingly. Many water districts are even offering rebates for these water saving devices. Frequently check for and repair any leaks in your hose or irrigation system and adjust your sprinklers to maximize coverage while avoiding watering things like sidewalks or patios unnecessarily.
Finally, water your plants at the soil level rather than watering the stems and foliage; this reduces evaporation significantly and reduces the chances of rot and disease.
Conservation Tip #4:
Use Drought-Tolerant, Native Plants in Your Landscape
We love native plants for many reasons, but their water conservation capabilities are at the top of the list! By design, any perennial, tree, or shrub that is native to California is going to handle the hot, dry conditions of the region, and there are hundreds of gorgeous native plants to choose from that will thrive with little watering here in Orange County. Use nature as your muse here, and head out on a drive to see what’s blooming in the wild! Take a picture of what you like and add it to your garden center shopping list.
Conservation Tip #5:
Reduce or Eliminate Your Lawn
Turfgrass lawns are lovely for sports and children’s play areas, but if your grass hasn’t seen any of these activities in a while, it might be worth switching to a more water- and wallet-friendly landscape! Turfgrass takes up a lot of water and requires a lot of maintenance. You’d be surprised how much time and money you’ll save by reducing or eliminating your lawn, and you’ll be doing the earth a favor too!
Earth day provides us with a gentle reminder to act as true stewards of this land, even in our backyards. With proper management, you can have a genuinely epic garden while being a friend to the environment simultaneously! If you’re on the hunt for native plants or water conservation essentials like good quality organic mulch in Orange County, stop by Roger’s Gardens, and we’ll get you stocked up!
For more information about water-wise gardening, watch and learn: Waterwise Garden Trends with Sarah Smith + CA Friendly Gardening Solutions | Testing Your Sprinkler System with Tracy Wankner