How to Handle California Water Restrictions

Drought Tolerant entry

California Water Restrictions are coming to a Water District near you! This has been a long time coming, but it looks like Santa Clarita is starting to catch up with the other Water Districts and we are on the list to start having landscape water restrictions.  This sounds scary, especially for those of you with big lawns and well frankly it should sound scary.  We can’t really sustain big lawns.

Here are a few things you need to start investigating:

Water wise lawn alternative

Removing some of your lawn.  There are beautiful water wise plants that will make your yard a garden, instead of a water and time suck.  Here are a few beautiful low water plant articles that you can look at to get ideas.  Water Wise Plants and  Fire Resistant Plants are great choices.

Watering your existing landscape less.  Time to be smart about when and how much you water.  Start cutting down and watering smartly now and when the restrictions and fines begin you will be ready.  If you have any slope on your property, watch how the water drains off.  You will most likely need to cycle water in order to let the plants get the deep soaking that they need.  Depending on how clay-like your soil is, water 1-5 minutes then let the water soak in for 30-60 minutes and repeat as necessary.  Don’t spread the water cycling time out over the whole day – it won’t sink down to the roots.  This will make the difference of a nice deep drink of water and useless little sips for your plants.  Water starting early enough (in the night perhaps) so that you can be done by 8 or 9 am.

Make sure that you know your timer.  If you have one of the Weather Based Irrigation Controlers make sure you know how to re-program it properly.  If you have it on Auto Adjust you must know how to “Omit Days” in order to be sure that it only waters when you want it to.  The Auto Adjust program will over ride your programming if it feels the plants need more water.  If you haven’t specified days to omit, it could run when you are on restriction.  If that confuses you, just put it back to the standard watering.

Dry Alstroemeria

Don’t plant new plants in this heat!  I hate when clients insist on planting in August or September,  and this year I feel the same about July.  You will need to give your plants extra water to establish themselves.  What happens if you plant an entirely new landscape and then the restrictions occur?  You’re either out plants and the money they cost or you are out a fine.  There is plenty you can work on now.  Plan design, hardscape work, irrigation tune up, clean up and more.  Save planting  for October and later.

Bark Mulch

Add mulch.  The mulch will help retain water in the soil and keep down weeds.  It also keeps the roots of your plants cool in the summer and warm in the winter while adding nutrients to your soil.  A nice 2-4″ layer will add protection and also make everything look nicer.

Visit your local nursery (not the big box stores) to get information and to buy things that will help your plants survive with less water.  SuperThrive is a great Vitamin Solution that can help your plants through stressful times.  Compost and mulches are great for your soils.  Shade cloth can help when the heat is just beating down on things.  While you’re there don’t forget to pick up a sturdy sun hat for yourself, you deserve it!

If you would like to create a Water Wise Garden paradise please think about calling me to help you design it.   I love to collaborate with my clients, and would love to collaborate with you.  Call me at 661-917-3521 or visit my website and contact me there.





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