Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Summer Landscape Tips

Maintaining your property in drought conditions:

This year Boise is in a unique condition compared to its adjacent states, a severe drought is taking place and Boise is only suffering minor effects despite the lack of annual precipitation. Lower snow pack has been a trend in the Northwest for the last ten years. Southern Idaho is severely affected and is suffering like Southern California. Despite the lack of snowfall in the Valley this year, which has been 40% of the average snowfall, the reservoirs are full enough to carry the Valley through the summer season of 2015. This ample supply of water is due to last year’s higher than average snow pack. But Boise is not in the clear, if next winter is dry again, Boise will suffer the effects of the drought. Southern Idaho’s run-off began earlier than usual this season and Anderson Ranch, Arrowrock and Luck Peak Reservoirs are only running at only 80 to 93 % of average flow and capacity.  So with the drought in mind, how can you keep your outdoor space thriving while being environmentally conscious?

Whether you have an established outdoor space or are thinking about a newly installed space, here are some tips to practice to minimize water use in your garden space:

Use mulch. Install 2- 3 inches of mulch in your planter beds, this will help to hold moisture close to the plants and will minimize evaporation rates.

Minimize your lawn; introduce hardscape to your outdoor space such as a paver patio or stone walkway. If installing a new lawn use a drought tolerant lawn species that uses less water than a standard lawn. For existing lawn, keep it 3 inches or higher to shade the roots.

Water early in the morning or late in the evening to minimize evaporation. Or invest in a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation uses a small amount of water and applies it directly to the roots, this also minimizes evaporation. Make sure to adjust your sprinklers to not be wasteful, watering your sidewalk or driveway.

Stop fertilizing. Fertilizer encourages more growth, but more growth means a need for more water.

Weed your garden so your plants do not have to compete for water with the weeds.

 When choosing plants, go for drought tolerant. Xeriscape gardens, or gardens that do not need watering after establishment, can be colorful and lush. They save water and require less time to maintain. They also attract butterflies and pollinators to your garden.

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