Even though Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and New Years were a short time ago, spring is quietly sneaking up on us. Whether you're ready or not, it will be time to beautify your lawn and yard in just a short time. When you're planting this year, take time to plant water-conserving species to help you save water.
As more and more states are affected by droughts each year, many cities and towns impose water restrictions on its residents. Because water used for irrigation is good enough to be drinking water in many areas, we are only contributing to the clean water crisis. Two key components in water conservation is planning and management.
If your soil has high organic matter, like all the good stuff that comes from compost, it will help keep the soil fluffy rather than compacting. When soil is fluffy, water can travel more easily to the roots of plants to help keep them hydrated. Using mulch,even in the summer,is a great way to help your plants. Mulch keeps soil from losing water during evaporation.
PRO TIP: Use a two to four inch layer of mulch around the base of your plants. It will also help reduce the amount of weeds that may pop up.
When planning your landscape, stick to native plants which require infrequent waterings. Many plants can still be beautiful, but have evolved and adapted to live in your home's climate. Another characteristic of water-conserving plants are deep roots. Many home and garden centers are now labeling plants as native or water-saving, so be sure to look for these when shopping. Keep in mind that the native plants your cousins grow in Maine probably won't work if you live in Kansas.
To further maximize your landscaping efforts, be sure to know your area's hardiness zone and to get plants that can withstand the winters. The last thing you want is have a beautiful, water-conserving landcape in the spring, summer, and fall, only to lose it during the cold winter.
PRO TIP: Check out the US National Arboretum's Hardiness Zone Map to help.
Now, go start planning and planting!