Hydrozone Your Landscape to Save Water

August 11, 2014 | By Roundtree Landscaping

Pairing the right plants together in a landscape is like creating a great relationship where everyone involved gets exactly what they need, when they need it. Grouping plants together that require similar amounts of water, soil and nutrient needs saves water and time, and results in happier plants! We like to call this approach “hydrozoning”. Here are a few tips on how to hydrozone when choosing plants for your landscape:

Group plants with similar water needs. Planting varieties that need the same amount of water throughout the year just makes sense! For example, agaves, sedums and ornamental grasses each prefer to dry out a bit between waterings and need well-drained soil. They thrive on about the same amount of irrigation or rainfall. However, planting canna lilies next to your agave will probably mean your agave gets over-watered in order to keep the cannas happy.

Shrubs, perennials and lawns have different needs. Ornamental grasses, succulents and many shrubs don’t require as much water as your St. Augustine or Bermuda grass once established. Unfortunately, many irrigation systems are designed such that they water lawns and shrub beds at the same time for the same duration. This will cause you to over-water your shrubs in order to keep your lawn happy, or under-water your lawn if you cater to the shrubs.  Over-watering plants makes them more susceptible to pests and disease and can quickly kill certain varieties. It’s always best to zone each part of your landscape so that areas with different types of plants receive only as much water as they need.

Foundation plants. Our heavy clay soils here in North Texas can wreak havoc on on our home’s foundation. It is recommended to keep the soil around your foundation consistently moist to limit the contraction and expansion of the soil. By planting foundation shrubs around your home, you’ll be forced to provide enough regular water to keep your foundation structurally sound. A great way to deliver the right amount of water for both your plants and the foundation is to install an irrigation drip-line around the foundation.

Not sure how much to water and when? Most irrigation systems we inspect are set to water all zones of the landscape the same amount of water for the same amount of time. Be sure your irrigation is properly set in each zone so that nothing is over watered or under watered. This is especially true for your lawn. If you’re not sure how long to set each irrigation zone based on the kinds of plants in each zone, we can help! If you need help with your current system, we have an irrigation specialist on staff that can help check, set or repair your irrigation system.


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