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Project Guide

Low Maintenance Landscaping

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  • You can make your xeriscape gardening efficient with careful planning. 
  • Group plants with similar watering needs together. Identify where the sun hits your garden, so that you can place your drought-tolerant or native plants appropriately. Record when, where, and how long the sun shines on different areas of your outdoor space. 
  • For hot, dry areas, also known as arid zones, use plants that require minimum water. Cacti, succulents and drought-resistant shrubs can be placed here. For plants requiring a lot of water, place them in areas that hold moisture and offer less direct sunlight. These areas are called oasis zones. Be sure to give your plants enough room to grow to size.
  • When watering your xeriscaped plants, avoid doing it during the hottest part of the day. Early morning is usually the best time to water. This allows the water to soak into the soil gradually without quickly evaporating under the hot sun. 
  • Also, consider installing a drip irrigation system. This supplies water to the plant’s root zone directly, helping them to stay hydrated, healthy and alive. 
  • Most drought-tolerant plants require significant irrigation during the first couple seasons. This allows the roots to travel deep, so they can support the plant without irrigation. As the plant becomes more established, it will require less watering.
  • Your xeriscaped plants will survive with proper care and the right nutrients. Soil and mulch can help make this happen. 
  • Soil fosters root growth, so you want to choose the most appropriate kind for your plant. If you’re unsure of your soil type, do a pH soil test, or get an analysis from your local state university or local extension service. 
  • Be sure to aerate the soil around the drip line of the plant. This allows air and water to soak into the ground. 
  • Mulch is a material that prevents moisture from evaporating from the surface of the soil, and it suppresses weeds that rob plants of water. However, too much mulch can block water from getting down to the plant’s roots. In many cases, mulch should only be applied at a thickness of 2 to 4 inches around shrubs, trees, and in flower beds.
  • To best maintain your xeriscaped space, create an area that’s easy for you to manage. Also, check on your garden often to address problems before they get out of control. Here are some other ways that you can keep your garden healthy and maximize water use: 
  • Follow the maintenance instructions on your plant tag. 
  • Remove any weeds before they get established. Weeds will compete with your plants for the limited water it takes to preserve them. 
  • Water your plants often before they become established. Once they’re established, you may be able to water them less. 
  • If you have a lawn, mow no more than 1/3 of the grass height. If you don’t, you run the risk of ruining the grass roots if you trim too short. Weeds could also take hold in your lawn. 
  • Lastly, apply the appropriate amount of fertilizer if necessary. Too much fertilizer can burn your plants or cause them to grow tall and straggly. Slow-release fertilizers require less effort on your part and reduce the possibility of over-fertilizing.