Consider Water Wise Landscaping when planning and installing your Prescott AZ area gardens and landscapes. Water is a limiting factor here as our water comes from underground aquifers fed by rainwater. We have been in a cycle of drought for over 20 years and recharge of our groundwater is lagging behind water use.
Typically 70% of homeowner’s water use is for landscape needs, so smart use of water can make a real difference.
What techniques can you use to use water wisely?
- Select native plants well adapted to xeric (very dry) conditions. Most natives are drought tolerant and adapted to our climate and rainfall patterns. However, you need to provide supplemental watering during our dry spring and fall, at least during the first year of planting.
- Use a well planned drip irrigation system which groups plants by water need on separate valves. Our soil accepts water very slowly, so drip irrigation is more effective than overhead watering. Also, water is very heavy, over 8 pounds per gallon! Filling basins with gallons of water compacts the soil, minimizing air pockets important for biological processes.
- Utilize a moisture meter to determine and schedule frequency of watering.
- Measure your rainfall and the water content of snows. If more than .25″ of moisture falls, that is considered a watering cycle. A rule of thumb is that 12″ of snow is equivalent to around 1″ of moisture. Turn off or adjust your irrigation timer accordingly. Check out Rainlog.org for a rain gauge and monitoring statistics for Arizona.
- Water deeply and less frequently to encourages roots to grow deeper into the soil, and thereby create better drought tolerance. Frequent watering of short duration causes roots to remain near the surface, creating a thirstier plant.
- Harvest rainwater for landscape use. It is estimated that only 2% of the water that falls ever makes it back to our aquifer. The remainder of the moisture is lost to evaporation and plant transpiration. You can check out our post on rainwater harvesting for more information.
Be proactive and consider water wise landscaping.