Water wise gardening

FRESNO, Calif.

In a typical household, landscape irrigation represents up to 70% of water use. So, some small changes to your yard could make a big difference in conservation efforts.

Your grass lawn is one of your biggest water guzzlers, and much of it is wasted by inefficient irrigation, ending up instead on the sidewalks and in the gutters. Adjusting sprinklers can save 15 to 25 gallons of water per day. But that's only a start to being a more water wise in your yard.

At Belmont Nursery in Southwest Fresno, California's drought means educating more customers about drought tolerant plants, like the Desert Museum Palo Verde tree.

Certified Arborist Betsy Thornburg pointed out rosemary, ornamental grasses, and succulents all don't need a lot of water, using 2/3 less than other plants. But she says the changes don't end there: "Mulching is a really good practice, probably should be doing that every spring and fall make sure we have a nice layer of mulch, gonna keep that moisture in the ground where the roots are, so that helps a lot."

Thornburg also suggests changing spray sprinklers to low-flow bubbler or drip systems so the water is applied directly to the roots, "All plants can be trained to be more water wise that is done by deeper watering, less often."

For an even more drastic water-saving makeover, Belmont Nursery also offers landscape consultation services. Email consult@belmontnursery.com for more information.

The City of Fresno Water Division also has a water-wise gardening website http://www.fresno.watersavingplants.com. The website highlights dozens of suggested plants, including lawn substitutes. And has a gallery of homes with low maintenance yards.

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