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  • Writer's pictureGround Zero LC

Landscaping Tips- When in Drought

Anyone living in Arizona right now doesn’t need a meteorologist or lawnscaping expert to tell them it is a hot, dry summer! It’s not just in your head, and it hasn’t just been this summer- climate conditions in Arizona over the past decade have been hotter and drier overall compared to decades past. We’re experiencing a drought, and while this certainly has implications for immediate relief like turning on your air conditioner and hopping in the pool, don’t forget about your lawn health either!

In addition to the drought, our water supply in Arizona has become increasingly hampered due to the rising population, which is increasing overall demands for water. With the water supply being in higher demand, the cost of water will increase. The pressure to decrease water usage grows, and whether it’s coming from outside pressure (community boards, business park associations, etc.) or your own desire to cut back for cost or conservation purposes, we have helpful insights for you below.

Why Be Concerned about Water Supply in Arizona and Personal Landscape Usage?

This summer of 2022, we’re experiencing a Tier 1 Water Shortage in the Colorado River. While this is not currently affecting municipal water deliveries, it most likely will in the future. As this decrease in available water for municipalities happens, the cost of water will increase, meaning municipalities will have to re-examine their budgets for landscaping. As the Arizona Drought and Extreme Heat: Plant Responses and Landscape Maintenance Practices publications says, “Although many plants are adapted to dry conditions, prolonged drought and varying degrees of severity may cause irreversible damage or mortality to plants, including our native vegetation.”

So What Can We Do?

The decrease in water itself is not a death sentence for your landscaping or your budget. By tweaking aspects of when and how you water your landscaping, you can improve how your trees and plants respond to getting less water. We can assess your landscaping’s irrigation system efficiency and plant resiliency, and we can offer personalized solutions that look at long or short term fixes.

Some options are:

  • Selecting native plants or desert-adapted species

  • Limiting turf areas, including overall space or considering turf conversion for lower trafficked areas

  • Inspecting irrigation systems to optimize watering times and coverage areas

    • Upgrades and repairs to the system could help too

  • Conducting regular inspections of landscaping and adapting for changing needs frequently

Optimizing Watering Times and Coverage

One simple and quick adjustment is to consider the time you are watering and what that watering is doing to the plants’ roots. Observe the soil’s intake of your regular watering cycle and adjust for the following:

  • Watering the entire plant’s roots during each watering is far more effective than frequent, shallow watering. Watering the entire depth of the roots promotes better root growth and resiliency to temperature extremes and drought.

    • There is one exception: sandy soils do need watering more frequently

  • Emitter/sprinkler placement adjustments around trees

    • When trees get older and have larger established root systems around them, add more emitters around the active root zone and cap the ones closer to the tree.

    • ** Keep in mind that capping and adding emitters is much cheaper and easier than replacing dead trees.

Reach out to us to start evaluating your landscaping needs and adjustments today so that we can help you prepare for the drought this summer and to be prepared for years to come.

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