Summer sensations, such as buzzing bees, spotting the first bloom of the season, and the smell of freshly-mown grass, seem a long way off as we wait for warmer weather. However, the 2021 gardening season will be here before we know it. Are you considering a waterwise landscape to reduce water use and maintenance? If so, here’s a few ways you can start preparing for a drought tolerance paradise this summer.
Whether you’re adding new flower beds or replanting existing ones, take time to assess your site’s daily sun exposure and soil drainage. When choosing locations for new plants, be sure to group them by similar microclimates. For example, a drought tolerant perennial like Gaura will require full sun and little water— so don’t plant it under a shade tree that might need to be watered more frequently.
Start thumbing through seed catalogues or picking out perennial plants online. Check the cold hardiness of the plants you are considering since not all Texas native plants will withstand the cooler temperatures we experience in the Panhandle and Southern High Plains.
Warmer winter days are perfect for creating new drought tolerant flower beds. By choosing to irrigate drought tolerant perennials rather than large swaths of grass, you can save hundreds of gallons of water over the summer. Try these tips from Texas AgriLife Extension for building a new raised bed, or check out this shortcut called “Sheet Composting ”.
If you’re working with existing beds, till in several inches of compost. This will provide your plants with more organic matter and will increase your soil’s water holding capacity.
Assess the depth of mulch on your existing flower beds. Maintaining a three to four-inch layer of mulch year-round will help reduce the amount of moisture evaporated from the soil, reduces annual weed populations, prevents soil compaction, and moderates soil temperatures—all of which helps improve water efficiency.
Even though it’s not time to irrigate your lawn, if you’re in Lubbock County you can go ahead and sign up for Water My Yard to receive weekly notifications detailing when and how much to water your lawn.
You can find more waterwise landscaping tips and plant suggestions at hpwd.org/waterwise-landscaping.