Exploring Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Practices | UPR Utah Public Radio

Drought tolerant landscaping has become a popular option in arid areas to reduce the need for water on people’s lawns. Today Rick Heflebower, USU Extension Horticulturist in Washington County, joins me to talk about this method of drought management.

So let’s just look at the implications of the name itself, what is drought tolerant or resilient landscaping.

Rick Heflebower– When we think of drought tolerant landscaping, it is not just a practice but a number of things that people can do in their lawns and landscapes to conserve water.

One thing you can do is try to shift so much of your landscape to drip irrigation, as opposed to sprinklers. With drip irrigation, the water drips very slowly into the planting area. This allows the earth to soak up the water so it doesn’t run off or evaporate.

Another thing would be to use mulching. The mulch will help retain moisture in the soil.

Another thing people might think about that they haven’t already done is using plants that are more drought tolerant. This means when you are picking or choosing plants that do not use as much water.

These are some of the things that come to mind that people might do. Some would need a little preparation. Others are things that they could probably start doing right away.

Kailey Foster– You bring up the drip irrigation system and how that would require some preparation. What can people do on their lawn now to keep their lawn more water efficient?

RH– So one of the best things they could do would be to watch out for the number of extensions and the state recommends that people water every week. Knowing and understanding how often to water during the week will save water.

Another good thing to remember is to water at the right time of day. Most places say not to water between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. – this is when temperatures are highest and evaporation rates are highest during this time. We encourage people to water from 8pm to 10am.

There have been times when we warn people not to water in the dark to prevent disease, but right now we’re so dry. The air has little or no humidity, so the water at this time of year cannot do any harm in the evening hours.

Theatrical Version– What should people know before making major changes to their lawn? like drip management?

RH– With drip irrigation, you give the water exactly in one area. When using the emitters, distribute these emitters according to the position of the plants in the landscape.

You need to be aware that if you switch to drip because you are using so much less water, you don’t want to starve the trees and shrubs. To keep them from starving, make the change gradually.

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