Combat drought, rising cost of water with xeriscaping
As the temperatures soar higher and higher, lots of us are looking for plants that are happy with less water. Water isn’t as inexpensive and plentiful as it once was. Have you ever considered xeriscaping part or all of your yard?
Xeriscaping is said to have begun in Colorado (the second home of so many Texans) during a prolonged drought. The term “xeriscape” comes from the Greek words “xeros,” which means “dry” and “scape,” which means “view.” It means that the plants need less care and less water. What it does not mean is that the plants need no care. It’s not that difficult to create a water-efficient landscape with the use of good planning, the right plants and grass selections. Irrigation systems that don’t waste water, mulching regularly and regular maintenance will help you be more water-efficient, too.
Plan ahead and research the best plants to begin using in your yard. Group plants together that have similar water needs. Making sure that the soil that your plants are growing in is at its best is important. Do you need to add amendments? Do you need to add slow-release fertilizer? A happy, healthy plant needs less water to stay at its best. If you still haven’t had your soil tested, whatcha waitin’ for? The folks at the Texas Agri-Life Extension Agency can help you with more information.
Consider using native plants in your landscape. Not only are they less susceptible to insects and disease, but they also usually have lower water needs. Popular native and well-adapted plants for our area are salvia, Mexican Bird of Paradise, rosemary, Jerusalem sage, Yuccas, cacti, skullcap, Texas sage and many more.
More and more homeowners are switching from St. Augustine grass to other types of turf. One turf is not like the other. When you can’t replace turf with plants that use less water, consider drought tolerant grass. The Texas Agri-Life folks can help with this decision, too. Consider the amount of sun and shade you get. Most “seasoned” lawnmowers know that grass should be mowed high. That will allow the blades to help protect the roots from the heat and it will help to hold in moisture.
Mulch often. Keeping roots cool in the summer insulates the plants. It keeps the soil temperature lower and decreases evaporation. Choose from the wide variety of mulches available: native Texas hardwood, shredded cedar, pine needles, shredded bark. Get rid of weeds, prune regularly, use organic fertilizer and environmentally friendly pest control products. Healthy plants need less water. Xeriscaping is a great option for lowering that water bill.