Who would have thought waterwise gardening would at times take Holmesian sleuthing? Unexpected increase in a zone’s consumption, change in a plant’s health, or surface moistness are all signs of potential waste. Sometimes, the signs are oh-so-subtle. Take a case with 3 oddities that haunted me for 2 1/2 years: My hypersensitive nose smelled something… Read More Channel your inner Sherlock
In yet another dry summer in year 5 of a drought, I’m reminded how names influence perceptions and actions. Shakespeare’s Juliet argued “That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” Maybe for Romeo, but not for amorphous concepts to transform water-intensive landscapes. Take ‘drought-tolerant,’ the industry-standard coinage for… Read More What’s in a name?
As smoke from the Sherpa fire stings my eyes and planes loaded with fire-retardant fly overhead, an ah-ha moment struck. Firewise landscaping is lean, clean, and green. Hmm…that’s waterwise too. Five years of drought, 58 million dead and dying trees just in California, and hot and windy weather make a tinderbox. The more flammable the… Read More Firewise…is…waterwise
A new NASA and Mountain West study reveals that lawn is now 2% of the continental U.S. surface and America’s single largest irrigated crop. Gulp! That’s 40 million acres or 63,000 square miles of green carpet, dominating many regions’ residential water use. Removal, a top priority in dry climates, saves the most hands down. Second… Read More Tackle lawn irrigation
Too much, too little, or just right? How much to water dry-climate gardens can be a puzzle. The consensus for lawns, the poster child for waste, is 1″/week. Beyond generic groupings into low, moderate, or high water use, the answer for plants is less clear and can challenge long-standing practices. Let me wade into the… Read More This water is just right!
Want to radically increase water effectiveness at no cost? Rather than run a zone for its total time, divide duration into 2 or 3 parts separated by a brief respite. This cycle and soak technique minimizes runoff and maximizes absorption. Since implementing it 2 years ago in my one-acre Southern California garden, it has proven… Read More Cycle and soak gardens
Now into the 5th year of a deep drought, California’s May 2016 suspension of urban water restrictions strains credulity. Given that El Niño did not materialize, climate change is unabated, and old habits die hard, reversing the course set only one year earlier seems premature. April 2015’s statewide mandatory reductions (coupled with surcharges, penalties, and… Read More 5 years and counting