For The Answer
Weekly Express-News ArticleSaturday,
March 18, 2006
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
“Xeriscape Landscape and Contest”
Xeriscape is a term that was created to describe a common sense
landscape for climates like
· Plan your landscape to meet your families’ requirements and to take advantage of the characteristics of your land and climate. Find the Xeriscape Conversion Brochure at area nurseries or from the Master Gardeners for help in planning your landscape. You can also use a professional.
· Enrich your soil with organic material to improve drainage and to increase water holding capabilities. Compost is the best choice.
Reduce turf areas to the minimum amount that meets your families’
needs for play area. Even the
most drought tolerant lawn grasses – zoysia,
· Select plants that are capable of surviving our weather and soil. The good news is that there is a huge palette of colorful and lush plants that meet those qualifications. The SAWS website saws.org has a long list. Various SAWS brochures have pictures of many of the best plants.
· Mulch over the roots of every plant that you can. Use shredded brush, leaves or anything else available. Mulch reduces evaporation, keeps the soil cool, and reduces week pressure.
· Water efficiently by watering in the morning or evening and using drip irrigation where possible. If you have a sprinkler system keep it repaired, have a rain sensor, and use irrigation zones so you can water the grass without wasting water on the shrubs and trees.
Xeriscape landscapes are easier to maintain than lawn dominated landscapes,
but they do require some maintenance. The new SAWS Landscape Care Guide is available
at Milbergers, Fanicks, Schultze House, and the Botanical Center Gift
Shoppe for $8. Better yet,
attend a SAWS sponsored garden program (Master Gardeners, Extension
Service, Gardening Volunteers, Forest Service,
If you already have a xeriscape landscape, consider entering the xeriscape contest for a generous gift certificate to your favorite nursery.
Entries are now being accepted for the 2006 Watersaver Landscape Contest.
Contest organizers are looking for individual homeowners who have installed water-conserving landscapes with an eye for originality, ingenuity, and imagination.
There are two contest categories: existing xeriscapes designed by the homeowner and existing xeriscapes created by a professional designer. Homeowners who have the winning landscape in each of the categories will receive a $400 nursery gift certificate. Second place winners will receive a $200 certificate; third place winners a $100 gift certificate.
Winning yards will also be included in the annual Contest Tour scheduled for Saturday, May 13, and Sunday, May 14, 2006.
To enter, pick up a contest brochure
available at most of the local nurseries and garden centers, the
The criteria includes low water usage, overall planning and design, a wide array of low water use plants, appropriate use of turf, creative use of hardscapes (walkways, decking, paving), use of color, use of mulch, and how little maintenance the landscape requires.
Complete details are outlined in the contest brochure.
Contest sponsors are the San Antonio
Water System, Gardening Volunteers of South Texas,
For more information, contact GVST at (210) 522-9220