- Author: Janet Hartin
In your landscape, your trees and edibles should come first under drought and water restrictions! If there just isn't enough water to go around, your lawn and flowers should be sacrificed instead. Trees are our most valuable landscape resource and take years to maximize their benefits (shade, cooling, habitat/ecosystem enhancement, carbon dioxide storage, energy conservation, pollution filters, etc.).
Just a few slow, deep waterings with a garden hose away from the trunk and slightly beyond the drip line will keep established trees alive, even during summer. Remember to keep trunks dry!
Here are some other tips:
• Spread and maintain 2-4” of mulch around garden plants and trees (3-4” for wood chips, 2” for pebbles, decomposed gravel, etc.) keeping it a few inches away from tree trunks. (Note: dark colored dyed mulches should be avoided in inland and desert areas due to their high surface temperatures that can > 60 degrees F hotter than living plants and lighter colored mulches.)
• Water early in the morning when soil evaporation is minimal.
• Control weeds. They compete with other plants for water.
• Avoid fertilizing. Nitrogen increases growth and the need for more water.
• Don't plant new plants during the summer when temperatures are highest. Even drought-resistant native and non-native plants need regular watering their first season.