Xeriscape landscaping ideas

Watering Plants During Drought

Last Updated on August 13, 2023 by Paul Guzman

Watering your plants during drought season.  Around the Southwest, the drought season is every year starting in late spring and lasting until mid-fall. The lakes are low and water rights are always going through legal maneuvering.  A few clouds around the horizon but they rarely amount to anything.

It is tuff to conserve water when you want a nice, colorful garden or landscape.  Newly planted trees need extra watering and trying to grow your own herbs and vegetables also requires plentiful water.  Most lawns also require plentiful watering especially cooler season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue.

As hard as it might seem you can have a colorful landscape, however, you should follow a few common-sense rules.

Plant the right trees and shrubs for the Southwest.

There are plenty of low-water trees and plants that can provide you with color, shade, and plentiful herbs and vegetables to grow.

Trees that use less water for landscape

Plants with low water requirements

Low watering herbs

Low water vegetables

  • Mustard Greens,
  • Okra
  • Pole Beans
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes, yes, tomatoes.  Early Girl, Cherry, Purple Cherokee, Sun Gold, and Sweet 100’s are known to require less water.  Larger-type tomatoes require more water.

Watering Plants During Drought

I could add a lot more to these lists. But we want to know how to water during droughts no matter what we are planting whether it is a new plant or well-established.

Watering in the morning hours is best just after sunrise.  It is cooler during that time which means less water evaporation equals more water for your plants.

Do not water during the late afternoon hours.  This can lead to fungus, blight, and other diseases and insects.

If you can afford it purchase larger well-established trees that produce a good canopy for shade purposes.  This will help cut down cooling costs during the sweltering summer months.

Install a good drip system for your plants.  Hire a good landscaper to install your system or DIY.

Choose light-colored pots

Plants that are in pots need to be watered more often, why? Because container-type pots retain heat this means the root systems will become hotter during the scorching summer months. Thus, requiring more water.  As most folks know dark colors retain heat however, light colors retain less heat.  So, it is best to purchase pots that are light in color.

Watering plants during drought

Watering your plants during Drought Conditions

  1. Choose native or drought plants for landscape design. Also called Xeriscape landscaping.
  2. Check the drip system for pinched hoses or drippers that may be clogged or no longer working.  Is your timer set accordingly?  Non-native plants need about 5-6 gallons of water every other day especially if they are young or newly planted plants.  Watering by hand should be done more often. Most folk just sort of sprinkle a little water thinking that is enough… it isn’t.  Make a good-sized border around your tree or plant and fill it to the top. let the water soak in and fill up again.
  3. Mulch – is used around the base of your plants and this will help keep the moisture in after a good soaking. It also helps to keep bugs out.
  4. Remove weeds by hand if possible.  You don’t want weeds and your plants competing for water.
  5. Fertilize a little more often except for Native plants. You want your garden plants to flower and thrive.
  6. Choose Bermuda grass over anything else.  It is drought tolerant and will regrow in places where it has died when you start applying more water.
  7. Use a Soaker Hose to water plants.  Less evaporation and water runoff.
  8. Install a drip system.  You can regulate the amount of water going into your plants. Place the dripper close to the main root system.
  9. Do not spray insecticides on your plant foliage during extreme heat.  Use a systemic (in the ground) insecticide instead.
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