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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Xeriscaping

When you think of organizing a lawn so as to use plants that require minimal water, you think of people who live in arid climates. However, xeriscaping is used in most ecosystems. Georgia has plenty of rainfall. But it also has periods of drought. It taxes the water production to water lawns and gardens during periods of drought. With increased population, the cooperative services encourages people to use xeriscaping.

Native plants are good to use because they have adaptations to that particular ecosystem. Turf grasses make a great lawn and varieties such as Bermuda grass that need little water are a great choice. One friend of mine assumed the bean plants in his garden would be languishing or dead because of dry spell during his vacation. The heirloom variety were just fine.

Design garden beds with swales. Swales can be about two to three feet wide. They have a depression in the center so that rainwater will gather toward the center. Plants that need more water should be planted toward the center and more drought tolerant toward the higher ends. The size of the swale depends on the utility. I am familiar with the term turf row. But I see terracing and contour planting that employs this technique to stop run off from eroding the land. A swale is a variation of this practice on a smaller scale.

What looks like puddling of water in the middle of a pasture is actually a turf row
placed in the field to retain water and slow erosion.
Rain barrels are useful for reducing water use from a municipal supply.

Use mulch to hold water to the ground, moderate soil temperatures and provide nutrients to plants.

Planning the landscaping first enables you to plan irrigation needs. Like most things, the simpler you keep things, the more likely it will function well.

Every region needs to look for local advice. Usually a college or university has a department that delivers information to the general public. Below are two examples from the University of Georgia. Look to sources in your area.

http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=C895-1

http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=C895-4




3 comments:

  1. This is excellent advice, Ann. We get very little rain here in Curaçao, which makes gardening a bit of a challenge—and which means all this will be put to good use. (In May. After I've slept a week :D )

    I've so enjoyed your April series. I'll miss having your posts to look forward to every day, but I'm already following you via email, so whenever you do post I'll be coming by for a read :)
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

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  2. I've been wanting to get some rain barrels but haven't done it yet. We do get quite a bit of rain usually except in July. Great tips!

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