CA Friendly Tips

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Find out how much water you sprinklers are applying

Applying ½ inch of water to clay soil will moisten it to a root depth of about 6 inches. You can determine how long it takes to apply ½ inch of water by setting out several cans, running your sprinklers, and measuring the time it takes to fill them to ½ inch. It's really quite [...]

Apply water slowly, rather than quickly

Soils soak up water slowly. (Approximately .2 to .4 inches per hour for clay soils and .75 inches per hour for sandy loam.) Standard "pop-up" heads put down 1.5 inches per hour - or more. The water is applied faster than it can be absorbed, meaning much of the water ends up running in the [...]

Remove or reduce your turf size

Turf is the thirstiest part of your landscape; usually by a big margin. Lawns produce most of the water runoff and are the source of a large portion of our costal and bay pollutants. Using power equipment to maintain lawns also contributes to the burning of fossil fuels and green waste issues. If you don’t [...]

Meet with your gardener or landscape maintenance company

Your gardener works for you. Make a point to meet with them and tell them what you want. Start with no overspray onto the sidewalks/gutters, frequent adjustments to your irrigation controller and mulch maintained over all exposed soil. While you're at it, tell them you only want to use organic products in your garden. If [...]

Avoid exposed sloped soils

Exposed soil, especially whhen the area has even a modest slope, is a real water waster. The water runs off, which also adds to loss of topsoil and coastal pollutants. Covering the soil, either with a thick mulch or with groundcover or other shrubbery. Shredded mulches are especially good for this, since they bind together [...]

Set your lawn mower blades one notch higher

Longer grass will reduce evaporation and water use. Cool-season grasses, like fescues (Marathon), bluegrass and ryegrass can often be mowed at least a half-inch higher. This higher height will shade and cool the soil below the leaves and also encourage deeper rooting. Try it, it works. Unfortunately, this higher mowing height is not recommended for [...]

Plant shrubs or trees along south-facing sides of houses

By blocking the sun’s rays for most of the day, you will stop excessive heating of the home, reducing energy use. Similarly, shrubs and trees placed at the south edge of a property line will shade and protect a portion of the garden, thus reducing soil drying, evaporation and water use by the landscape.