Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247
Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.
Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.
ArticleSaturday, May 28, 2005
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS
Conservation Director, and Horticulturist
A large number of individuals took the
self-guided tour of the Xeriscape Contest winners during Mother’s
Day weekend. The winning neighborhood
was Encino Park and there were individual winners spread throughout
the city. If you visited the award winning landscapes
for 2005 or have visited the Water Saver Lane at the Botanical Gardens
you know that a xeriscape landscape in Central and South Texas can
look lush, colorful, manicured and distinctive.
I like the more distinctive themes like Spanish courtyard,
cottage garden, wildscape and hill country, but it can also look exactly
like the traditional manicured higher water-using landscape.
The key to a water efficient landscape is seven commonsense
- Plan your landscape to meet your family’s needs
and the characteristics of your site and our climate. You do not need to be a landscape professional
to plan a good San Antonio area landscape, but the more you learn
about what works and what you like, the more satisfied you will
be with your landscape. One
of the best resources is www.plantanswers.com.
In addition to large amounts of information on landscaping,
my articles on xeriscapes are archived on the website.
- Enrich your soil with organic material. If you want lawn grass, it is essential
that you have at least four inches of soil. One or two inches of compost incorporated into planting areas
will greatly improve plant performance and water efficiency. Top
dressing the lawn every two years will incorporate organic material
into the established landscape.
- Water efficiently by following the SIP (Seasonal Irrigation
Program) recommendations. Sign
up on the SAWS website, www.saws.org, to receive a weekly e-mail
or phone message personalized for your lawn conditions. Use drip irrigation for gardens and newly
planted shrubs and trees. Once
they are established they do not need supplemental irrigation
except in the driest conditions.
- Mulch over the root system of most plants to keep
the soil cool, reduce weeds and preserve moisture. Leaves, bark, compost, pecan shells and
any organic material work well.
Rock is effective in some situations, especially if you
like a Spanish courtyard theme.
Reduce your turf area. Lawn
grass is attractive in many situations, but it requires considerable
water to keep it green during the hot summer months. Mowing the grass is the most labor demanding
part of landscape care. If
you want to reduce watering and labor on your landscape use permeable
hardscape, groundcovers and more shrubs and perennials.
- Maintain your xeriscape landscape. It requires less work than a lawn-dominated
yard, but does require some pest control, pruning, mulch replenishment,
fertilization and other maintenance. A well-maintained landscape increases
its attractiveness, your property values and neighborhood satisfaction.
- The best part about a xeriscape landscape is that
in Central and South Texas, we have a huge palette of plants from
which to choose. All the
native plants are suitable because they evolved in this climate
and are capable of surviving and performing through our cycles
of hot and cold, wet and dry, in our alkaline soils.
In addition to native plants, there are many other well-adapted
plants to use. Among my favorites are the old-fashioned
roses, iris, narcissi, primrose, jasmine, vitex, pomegranate,
nandina, Chinese pistache, firebush, poinciana and esperanza.
There are both native and exotic lantanas, salvias, viburnums
and hollies that make good additions to a low water-use landscape
in San Antonio.